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Looking back on nearly 70 years

Here at the end of 2021, the lyrics of a Paul Simon song that The Legal Genealogist has adored for decades have a particular power:

Can you imagine us years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange to be 70…

Yep… it is in fact terribly strange to be 70. And almost as strange to have told so many stories of those years in the 10 years that I’ve been writing this blog.

And yep, before you ask, I certainly do have my favorites.

And yep again, before you ask, I certainly do intend to share my top 10 list with you.

Top 10 personal

My personal favorites of my own stories… the ones that have meant the most to me. In purely chronological order, starting with the first published and coming forward:

The blueberries of June

“Next door to our house was the backyard of a property that ran all the way from the next street down through to our street. And in that backyard… oh, in that backyard… were blueberries. And not just any blueberries, but blueberries grown by a magician.”

The Louisa fair

“… Everyone — everyone — was glad when the Fourth of July rolled around. Because going to town on the Fourth of July meant gathering together with everyone I loved… and going to the Fair.”

The kitten, the mudballs and Thor

“J.C. Barrett came into my family’s lives not long after World War II sent him to the Midland Army Air Force Base outside of Midland, Texas, and on the 12th of August 1942, he married my oldest aunt, Cladyne, in Odessa, Texas. … And I can’t ever think of him without three particular memories coming to the forefront every single time.”

The Great Christmas Closet Caper

“It was probably 1958. Maybe 1959. But most likely 1958. And it was the Worst Christmas Ever. I mean it. In capital letters. Worst. Christmas. Ever.

Finding Evan

“The attic was a place where, it seemed, anything might be found. Old clothes to dress up in. A place to hide when the younger kids were just too annoying. An education in anatomy, through the … um … unclad figures in my father’s old how-to-do-photography books. And the boy in the picture.”

The little things

“It is, sometimes, the little things that mean the most. That stick with you the longest. That become the memories you cherish for a lifetime.”

Patient Zero

The Legal Genealogist is of That Age. You know the age I mean. The age where we had everything — and I mean everything — as kids.”

Farewell to my hero

“In so so many ways, Timothy Evan Geissler beat the odds. Born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus at a time when so many children with those conditions died soon after birth, Tim was a fighter who wouldn’t give up. … Always with a smile on his face. Always with the words of a Taylor Swift song in his heart. Always with a Cubs shirt on his back. But, yesterday, our time with Tim ran out.”

Best toy ever

“It may be one of the best articles of all time — the article entitled “The 5 Best Toys of All Time,” written back in 2011.
• Stick • Box • String • Cardboard Tube • Dirt”

The other Judy

“It’s a story The Legal Genealogist heard often. One my mother loved to tell. It’s about the day we moved into the house in New Jersey where I grew up.”

And nope, before you ask, I have no intention of stopping.2

At least not yet.

Because telling our own stories is part of our family history.

And my own stories aren’t done yet.

How are you telling yours?

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Recording a lifetime…,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 30 Dec 2021).


  1. Paul Simon, “Old Friends,” recorded by Simon & Garfunkel, 1968.
  2. You can find more of my own family history in the category My family on The Legal Genealogist website.
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