Thursday, June 7, 2012

How You Can Reach Me, Kieran

Along the right side of this blog are different ways that you can reach me, Kieran. I always will keep them updated. You always may call me, your grandparents or your Uncle Chris collect. Should your mother abuse you in any way, get protection immediately by calling the number listed; after you have protection, contact me, and I will be there as fast as I can drive.

Currently (as of July 3, 2012), this is how you can reach me:

g My Tel.: 661-233-2692
g My Email:
g Grandma/pa's Address: E1120 700th Ave., Knapp, WI 54749
g Grandma/pa's Tel.: 715-665-2440
g Uncle Chris' Tel.: 715-665-9295
g If Your Mother Abuses You Call 612-348-3552

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How you used to love Thomas the Train!

Everywhere I go, Kieran, I'm constantly reminded of you and find myself fighting back tears. Last night while at Barnes & Noble in Palmdale, Calif., I saw a little boy playing with a Thomas the Train playset just like you had. The box came with a plastic mat of Sodor Island (compelte with railroad tracks) and small little pieces representing the various trains from the show - Thomas, Percy, Harold the Helicopter, James, Mavis and others - and a storybook as well.

By the age of 5, you'd long since outgrown Thomas the Train, but at one time you were utterly fascinated by it. In fact, though you didn't know how to tell time, you knew when it would be on the air just be memorising the shows that came on before it, and you were certain to let me know that Thomas was about to be on! At 3:55 every afternoon, you'd sit in my lap, and we'd cuddle as watching Thomas' latest adventure together. I'm so sorry that your mother forced you to leave behind all of your Thomas the Train stuff. Tonight I shall look through what toys I have of yours and see if there are any Thomas the Train pieces I can save for you. I love you, Kieran!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Your Bignell family heritage

For more than a quarter century, I've been researching our Bignell family heritage, Kieran. Shortly after you were born, I created a website called Kieran's Family Tree. It's my legacy to you. On the website, you'll find a page for each one of our direct-line ancestors (father-mother-grandfather-grandmother, etc.) as well as for each of their siblings. It's a work in progress, so if you look at it today and then again in another month, you'll see that it's probably changed a little (or at least some of the entries have!).

You boast a proud Bignell family heritage, Kieran. Our family was among the first to pioneer Wisconsin in the 1850s. The ancestors of women who married into the Bignell family takes you ancestors back to the founding of this nation - our ancestors were among the first to colonize New England in the 1600s and fought in the Revolutionary War to gain independence from Britain. Our family also boasts ancestors who fought in the Civil War. One even appeared in the famous book "Caddie Woodlawn."

So far, I've been able to take our family history back to the mid 1500s - which is before Shakespeare bagan writing his famous plays.

I suppose my interest in geneology began in 1977 when an impressive miniseries, "Roots", ran on television. Like the author whose book formed the basis of that television series, I began to wonder, too, where my family came from. Answering that question is like solving a difficult puzzle. But in solving in, I began to understand who I am, for I certainly am a product of my genes as well as the environment I find myself in. Sp should it be surprising that I (we?) suffer from the same ailments, such as allergies and sinus issues, as did our ancestors? That I find attractive women who hail from the same regions as our ancestors did? That the very same fears and outrages that drove our ancestors to immigrate are exactly the same fears and outrages that bother me most today?

Along the way, I've made some friends who are third or fourth cousins and some who live across the oceans in New Zealand and England. One from England even once sent you a set of postcards showing the sites of London. You were only four at the time, and when I told you she was from England, you said, "Wow! Does she live with the Beatles?"

Monday, June 4, 2012

My little ornithologist...

A hummingbird has taken up residence in the tree overlooking our condo's stairwell. It's an impossibly tiny creature, too small one might think to be a bird yet clearly far too large to be an insect. Its long, stylus-like beak must stretch an inch and a half from its barely visible head. As you may remember, we have a number of flowers, ranging from roses to irises, growing on the grounds, and the hummingbird can be spotteed fluttering about them during the early morning hours, its wings beating so fast that it looks like an image out of a cartoon when some character wants to run.

I watched the hummingbird for a while, thinking of you, and though it acted nervous at first that some really large crature was tracking its movements, after a while it must have decided I meant it no harm, for it now ignores me when I walk past and when in the tree goes about its business as if I'm not even there gazing at it. You always liked little birds when a preschooler, found them fascinating to watch, and while I'd indulge you for a few moments, often I was too quick to rush us off to our destination, whether it be for groceries or the next carnival ride or into the bank. How I wish now I'd given you more time to watch those birds, and how I wish you were here with me today so we might watch that hummingbird together.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Are the Beatles still your favorite band?

Sunday, June 19, 2011: Kieran dances to the Beatles tribute band's final number, "Twist and Shout" at Downtown Disney. He thought they were the real Beatles!
Listened to "Breakfast with the Beatles" radio shows this morning, Kieran. Remember how we always used to catch them on Sunday mornings when you were with me in San Diego? The Beatles always were your favorites, and whenever tribute bands appeared in the area, I'd take you to their concerts. Your favorite Beatles album always was "Please Please Me" - you'd always ask me to play the CD when we were driving somewhere, with "Boys" your favorite Beatles song ... well, your favorite one most of the time, for if you heard a Beatles song for the first time, you'd ask for me to play that one over and over! This morning's breakfast shows were about the making of the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and the movie "A Hard Day's Night". Wish you were here to listen to them with me...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My little baby who just wouldn't sleep

This morning was going through old cassettes I had and stuck in one by the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. The songs were special to me growing up - "Puff the Magic Dragon" as that passing of childhood song, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" when you must say goodbye to a loved one even though you don;t want to, "500 Miles" when you finally leave home and travel cross country for a new life and fortune. But I soon found all of those memories supplanted by an even stronger one, of you as an infant, no more than a few weeks old.

You always liked to stay awake and were difficult to put asleep, even when tired! I think you were just so stimulated by all that was around you that you didn't want to miss a thing. So I came up with the idea of playing lullabyes to you in hopes that your eyelids would soon feel too heavy to keep up. The closest thing I had to lullabyes was Peter, Paul and Mary, so I put in the tape.

My plan backfired. You found the voices so beautiful and the harmonies so wonderful that you actually became more alert as you listened to their songs! When I turned off the tape to rock you in hopes of putting you asleep, you started crying and didn't stop until I turned the music back on! And then you kept listening to it, all happy and content and so utterly fascinated by what you were hearing - but still awake!

Friday, June 1, 2012

My little botanist...

As writing this, I'm living in the high desert overlooking Los Angeles, in a city called Palmdale. You lived here (or in the neighboring city of Lancaster) as well for some four years. Earlier while walking and thinking of you, I came across two flowering desert bushes, one with sun yellow blossoms and the other in a brilliant purple. They looked beautiful upon their green stems against the clear blue sky. I know you would have appreciated them as well, Kieran. We made many hikes together over the years, across the desert, to mountain peaks, along the ocean ... and you always were interested in the trees and flowers and pine cones, always examined them up close. My little botanist, I jokingly called you, though I'd have been proud if you grew up to be a scientist. Well, I'll be proud of whatever you decide to be, because I know you'll approach your career with an incredible passion and will succeed at it. Just don't forget to stop and smell the flowers along the way, okay?!