A New Year…..A New Chance

A New Year…..A New Chance
fam with 5

                                 (L-R) My father, Neil John McKinnon; sister, Mary Kathleen; brother Neil Jay; sister, Dorothy Grace; brother, Charles Ronald; my mother, Jean Marie Burnham; and me, Joy Colleen

A new year often brings new hope for better things and who doesn’t like to make a resolution or two,  although I think that the new term is ‘Do-Over’.  That’s probably because Do Over doesn’t sound so final.  It’s like you are in the middle of a process that doesn’t have a real level or requirement of commitment.   After all, don’t we just want another chance to try again at something whether it being weight loss,  finances or a multitude of other areas in our lives?  I have decided on two major projects this year.  The first is a Do Over with all my genealogy, sorting through papers, organizing, and basically pretending that I’m starting from the beginning.  The second is not the first attempt at this and sadly not even my tenth but I’m going to Do Over my daily menu choices and the only pat I can give myself on the back is for not giving up on this for the rest of my life.
New Years brings to mind not only the resolutions that I make but the traditions that my family shared for many years.  New Years had a few special traditions in our McKinnon household and it always started with the Rose Parade.  Beautiful, flower-laden floats,  loud, marching bands and beautiful waving princesses along side their radiant queen was our New Year beginning.  It began with watching it on a small black and white TV but I remember when we got our first color TV…well…life took on new meaning for me since I was always a girl that loved a great TV show but that’s a story for another time.   (Think it falls under obsessive behavior.)  Adding to the Rose Parade itself was the fact that I was raised in La Canada which is only a few miles from Pasadena and the infamous parade route on Colorado Boulevard.  It is hard to believe that our family never went to watch it in person as close as it was.  My parents were never fond of crowds but my mother sometimes took us down the next day where they parked the floats after the parade.  It probably was better in many ways as we could get much closer to the floats and examine the meticulous work that hundreds of volunteers had put into designing and decorating them.
As with most of my family traditions, food was involved.  My mother would cook a ham and serve it with potato salad and jello salad.  Now, if you were a child born before 1970, most families had a jello salad or two that they were known for since a repertoire of dishes were needed for church potlucks .  One of my mother’s was her lime jello with crushed pineapple and whipped cream.  For the next few days, there would be ham on rye sandwiches with leftover potato and jello salads.  Why is it that even now I can still savor it with only my memory.  To finish off the ham, my mother would make split pea soup from the ham bone.  Add Saltine Crackers and a glass of milk for a meal of perfection!
So, to New Beginnings and Do Overs for 2016 and the belief that the best is yet to come.

About Joy McKinnon-Stokes

I have been doing genealogy for over 25 years. My first interest in it was a result of my mother seeking information on her father’s family in England. Her father had left her when she was 12 and she never saw him again. I quickly jumped on board to help in the search and quickly discovered the ‘detective’ part of family history that I have grown to love. I not only found out about her father and where he had ended up but I discovered relatives including a great niece that my mother never knew she had. All of sudden, she had a family from her father’s side.
My father was in a similar situation and had a father that left when he was 9 never to be heard from again. Through time, I also found where his father ended up and within a few years, my mother, father and I went on a genealogical trek to New Jersey and Massachusetts to research further and to see the final resting places of my parents’ fathers. It will always be one of my most memorable experiences and it brought much closure to my parents. This experience is what continues to drive me to help others find out answers about their families.

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