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Is there a legacy in your family waiting for you?

Posted Monday, September 7, 2009, at 9:23 AM

I did not realize it when I wrote this, but it ties in with Labor Day. (Oh well, it was an interesting coincidence to me)

The article written by Sadie Fowler, Junior 'wireman' keeps grandfather's legacy alive, about Rod Cleveland 's continuation of his Grandfather's talent for wire sculpture made me think about my own family's talent legacy.

One of my grandfathers was an artist with iron and made fencing that surrounds Alexander Hamilton's park overseeing the Hudson River. His three daughters were not able to follow in his footsteps and I don't know of anyone in our family who has picked that back up.

My other grandfather was a locally acclaimed baker and one of his son's kept the Mill's bakery going for two more generations. It is still in business today but not by our family. My sister became and still is a cake decorator, as well as a teacher of the art through the Wilton company.

The teacher part of it probably came from our mother who went back for her teaching certificate as soon as the youngest (me) was able to help around the house and function without her being home every day after school. We would all take turns cooking the family meal, but as my sister, then two brothers graduated, the cooking fell to me.

My father was a skilled tool & die craftsman who became quite unhappy when he was moved into management. He turned his skills to running our small farm, which actually kept our family well fed and must have made some extra income, although finances were never discussed.

I can bake, but I am not a decorator. Debbi has kept of that end of the family for me, but no longer commercially. My father's love for nature, growing and farming is still in me though. I express that through my own gardens, and writing, but I can't say it keeps the family fed, just my soul.

Teaching however is still an active interest from my Mother's side. I can not afford to be a regular public or private school teacher, but I find my expression of this craft by teaching about eBay, internet marketing and of course, gardening.

How about you? Do you follow in the steps of any of your family? Maybe you want to, but need a little nudging? Here comes a nudge!!!!!!!!!!!

Even if no one in the family is following in a trade or talent from a previous generation, what are some that you admired while growing up?

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From my dad, who is a great woodworker, builder,what-ever-ya-call-it, I think I make a pretty good finish carpenter. For a girl, anyway. From my mom, I love needleworking and genealogy. I wish I could find a way to make a living out of a combo of it!

-- Posted by mmp84 on Mon, Sep 7, 2009, at 10:19 AM

When it comes to finish carpentry I think a woman has all the skills a man has, so I would bet you do well. My wife and daughter have an eye for detail that usually surpasses my own. Of course, I may get more done since I don't slow down for the details, but between the three of us, we get it done.

I too wish I could combine my love of a hobby, but there is a concern to watch out for when doing both. I used to love photography, so becoming a semi-professional photographer felt right. This was back during film developing and I used to do my own work in the darkroom as well.

The pressures of always producing and the chemicals eventually made me put the camera down for over 20 years. I now understand the artist who wants to create, but does not want to mass produce.

I had not built a "name" to the point that I could charge enough to make a decent living and just "producing" pictures was not satisfying. It results in the the "starving artist" reputation.

Probably the same thing would happen with farming and growing things. I would lose my love of gardening. Instead, I seem to enjoy selling (not the high pressure type) and combined with my hobbies, they create enjoyment while making a living too.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Sep 7, 2009, at 11:15 AM

My family has excelled at many things but those genes have skipped over me.

I'm looking to make my own mark.

(Someone has to attempt new things or we'd all still be hunter/gatherers.)


Perhaps,you could do needlework renditions of family crests or family trees or embellish bound or framed versions of genealogical data.

People could make scrapbook compilations of family data with copies of photos and documents,family anecdotes,recipes and the like.

Such a collection could complement archived material that is preserved (family Bibles,samplers,newspaper clippings,original photographs,etc.) in a climate-controlled environment and online sites that show pictures of a family's property,photos of furniture made,quilts and gardens and regularly updated family newsletters.

The online site could include audio files of stories and interviews that could be transcribed for the scrapbooks as a sort of multi-media family album.

Your needlework could decorate a box or book cover that would grace the hard copy version of family chronicles and hold small keepsakes that weren't stored for safekeeping or on display in a museum.

This would be for the things that could be seen and touched as guests and new family members were introduced to a family and its heritage.

The work of your mind could take the plain facts of ordinary people's lives and make them pieces of living history.

The work of your hands could make the containment and display of that information beautiful and worthy of a place of prominence within the home.

With your gifts,you could not only honor other people's families but add to the significant contributions coming from your own folks.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Sep 7, 2009, at 11:46 AM

My Dads Mother was a fine french hand sewing designer and seamstress. She was well known for her work in LA. My Mothers family were farmers and dairy people. Thus my love for design and sewing come naturally and I was one of very few grand children that have a green thumb. My youngest daughter is a designer working out of New York. I'm proud to know she is following in the family footsteps.

As making a living doing what you love... it can be done, with God's help.

-- Posted by Ms Jere on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, at 4:11 AM

It's a blessing to be able to continue such a positive legacy.

But,then again,one can always be the first to start a new trend for others to follow.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, at 6:07 PM

Both my parents worked in factories at one point. I am a UNION factory worker. My mother went on to become an LPN nurse and my father became "self employed" for handing out UNION cards at what was then Empire. My father can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING... Electrician, plumber, painter, carpenter, machanic, machinist. My mother was not only a nurse but the wheel our family revolded around. She could cook, bake, clean house like nobody's business. Work 60 hours a week, mow a yard and kiss the ochies away. She is the most God fearing woman and the most precious woman I know. To both my parents they taught me everything I know. I like my job (what can I say.... someone has got to do it and you just as well be happy in life as to be sad). I have side jobs and own rental property so I get to use all the skills I have gained though my parents. Painting, carpentry skills, plumbing skills (although replacing sewage lines is not one of my favorites), I can mow, weed eat a yard and obiviously somewhere along the way I had a nervous break down or I am just to under educated to know that you should not take pleasure from physical work and joy from a job well done . These must be skills I obtained from BOTH my parents. The love of family life, the joy of my children, and my GRAND-CHILDREN.. (It don't get no better than this). Just a bowl of home made ice creme shared with friends and family and a few jokes and laughes. I can even do home made biscuits... For a girl I can hold my own in a man's world.

If I could wish for anything in the world that would make a difference... I would wish for every child to have the same up bringing I had in my raising. My parents were and are the best and they taught me all about LIFE and the skills required to make it in this world. They also taught me to respect other people and to live life to it's fullest. .

-- Posted by Union on Mon, Sep 14, 2009, at 10:04 PM

It certainly sounds like a life and family built on love. Very nice to hear about. Thanks.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Sep 15, 2009, at 6:02 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.