Thanks and Gratitude 2016

This year has been a rough one. I’m waving goodbye to it with no tears, I won’t miss it at all. This is the year I’ve promised myself that I will be less cynical and more grateful for what I have.

I want to thank my mom, for being there when I needed her and standing back when I didn’t. Someday, I plan to be there when you need me, which other then holding up a tree in the wind, isn’t very often.

I want to thank my husband for being there for 41 years and realizing that he’s not going anywhere and he’s stuck with me. He’s become rather fond of me, like an old comfy shoe or mold. He still makes my stomach flutter and my heart skip a beat. Then again, my heart does that all on it’s own.

I want to thank my children, James, Mateo, Samantha, Alexandra and Magnus for being who they are and loving me for who I am. I want to thank their spouses and significant others, Joe Ramirez and Jim Barron. They’ve all weathered some storms, but they’re all weebles and they get right back up and trudge onward, perhaps a bit bruised and battered, but still the strong, capable, belligerent kids I’ve tried to raise. Keep on trudging guys, you’ll get to where you want to go. If I gave you nothing through your lives, it’s the tenacity and the strength to keep trying.

Thank you to the rest of my family, who through the years, I have become closer to. Thank you to my maternal uncle Mel Miller and aunt Maryann Digiovanni Miller who welcomed me to his 80th birthday party this year. I’m so happy I was able to join him and meet some of the family on that side. Thanks to my maternal cousins, Lisa Miller Katz and Christine Ceccarelli and their husbands, Evan Katz and Mark Ceccarelli that I recently met, who are both wonderful people. Thank you to their children, I’ve only met two of them but they’re both growing nicely into their roles in the world.

Thank you to my paternal side of the family. My cousins, Shirley Langlois, her daughter Tawni Pantera, and Susan Langlois. We’ve recently connected on Facebook and promised a family lunch soon, although we’ve promised before, I’m hoping it’s coming in 2017.

Thank you to the other family members, distant or departed that I’ve connected with this year. There were many lost children that I found, children that no one mentioned, that nobody knew about. Two of them were Herbert and Perley Riordan. I found out why their parents were absent from census records. They’d been deported when he was released from San Quentin in 1931. There was also the mystery of my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Alice Hankinson and her family. I found her in the 1881 Canada census with Gilbert and Mary A Hankinson, who I assumed were her parents. Something happened to her parents, found on her birth certificate as James Hartshorn Hankinson and Susan Hannah Grant and Gilbert, a relative was caring for her. Her sister, Effie Hankinson was living nearby with another family. The Hankinson’s came from Lancashire, England, originally settling in New Jersey. When the revolutionary war broke out, they sided with England and ended up in Nova Scotia after losing everything they had. That’s a story still opening up for me.

There was the mystery surrounding Mary Elizabeth Markey, my great-grandmother on my maternal side. There was also the story of her mother Anna L. Conroy, a business woman whose husband, Thomas Markey had to sell land when she died to settle her business debts, which I will write about soon. There was Anne and Catherine Markey, Thomas Markey’s sisters, who died on the same day in 1904. The Markey line goes back to Ireland in 1810, when James Markey was born in the early 1800s and came to New York in 1840.

Although I’ve found bits of info on my paternal side, there are still great mysteries to explore. Like, what their names really were and where they were really from. I’ve sent my DNA away for genealogical analysis. We’ll see if that turns up any new rocks to flip over.

I want to thank friends who have stuck around for years. Chris Barrow and I have been friends since 2003. I regard him as a friend and a mentor and I’m happy to work with him whenever I can. We’ve called each other siblings from another mother through the years. Working on my genealogy, I’ve discovered that we share a genealogical location. Perhaps I will find out we really are related after all. I regard Simon and Laura Reilly as good friends as well, we’ve known one another since 2005.

Thank you to my childhood friends that are still with me. Jean Mumbleau and Toni McCarty and I go way back to high school. It’s hard to believe that we still connect on Facebook after all these years. I can thank Facebook for bringing back Oskar Avilla, a neighbor and playmate. His family is from Columbia and he currently lives in Bolivia. Oskar looked me up and found me and we have messaged one another several times. We played together in Sierra Madre, California when we were five and six.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank those that I’ve worked with this year.

Even thought we’ve lost so many beloved celebrities this year, I’m hopeful that the grim reaper has had his/her fill for awhile. Thank you to those that gifted us with their talent. There were so many that touched my heart, Florence Henderson, Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael. I spent most of this week listening to George Michael songs.

I hope 2017 brings you all happiness and joy and most of all love.

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