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From the Presidents Desk - October 2021
As we are approaching fall and all the holidays, this is my favorite time of year. I especially love Halloween! I am reaching back many years and remembering childhood memories. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania about 10 miles east of Pittsburgh. It was a very nice community to raise a family in the late 1950s and 1960s. “Back in those days”, we kids played outside all day long and our parents were never worried or concerned as long as we were home by the time the streetlights came on! We walked to and from school- yes up and down hills in the snow!!! We’ve probably all heard or told those stories! We had no school buses in my hometown, so we actually did WALK. My schools had no cafeteria either so we took a brown bag lunch and a nickel for the milk machine! Geez! Can you imagine? Maybe many of you have the same type of memories.

I started playing clarinet in the fourth grade and was in the marching band from 7th to 12th grade. I really enjoyed football season and learning all the routines and maneuvers for the pre-game and halftime shows the band did for the games. We had very cool uniforms that would even keep us warm in the Pennsylvania winters. But back to Halloween… there was a Halloween parade through the town and of course, the marching band was in the parade. So I actually missed the trick-or treating part of Halloween until I was in high school because of having to march in the parade. But even with that, I have always loved Halloween. I’ve continued to “dress up” and until they moved back to PA a few years ago, I would take my great nieces and nephews trick-or-treating.

What do all these memories have to do with genealogy? Putting these memories down on paper is reminding me that I really should do more of this. I’ve never been one who kept a journal or even a diary when I was younger. Now, as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that years from now, my descendants would most likely enjoy reading about what life was like in the “olden days”! Those who have journals or even letters from their ancestors are extremely lucky. I would be so excited to have letters my father and mother wrote to each other during the World War II. Or to know what it was like when my grandparents immigrated to America in 1902. What were their feelings about becoming naturalized citizens of the USA? Luckily, we do have records of some of these events, but I’m missing the personal anecdotes that I sure wish they had written down.

The lesson learned here then is to take even a few minutes each day, to write your story. Everyone has a story to tell. Happy Halloween!

Katie Gertz
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