Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Creative Gene? Nope, not me!

The topic for the next Carnival of Genealogy is "Who inherited the 'Creative Gene' in your family?" Frankly, I know that it wasn't me. At least by the definition of painter, musician, poet, writer, wood carver, interior designer, calligrapher, knitter, singer. But my extended family does have most of those talents in the last few generations. Let's see:

1) Painter - my great-grandmother Della (Smith) Carringer painted pictures, and my great-grandfather Charlie Auble was a "painter" according to his obituary (although I doubt that he was an artist!).

2) Musician - I think the winner here is my grandmother, Bessie (Richmond) Seaver, who played the organ and piano at churches all over the Leominster MA Are between 1900 and 1960. She apparently played by ear and entertained at family gatherings to great fanfare.

3) Poet - I don't know any relative with a bent for iambic pentameter or any other sort of rhyming - perhaps my grandmother Emily (Auble) Carringer who liked to recite poems, but not of her own making. My daughter has written some verse for special occasions and to express her own feelings, especially in happy and sad times.

4) Writer - Perhaps Della (Smith) Carringer - at least she wrote a journal for one year! And letters to her family. I hesitate to nominate myself, although nobody else in the family has written as much for public (or private) consumption. The problem is quality vs. quantity - I am prolix and often logophagous (look those up in your Funk and Wagnalls!).

5) Wood carver - my great-grandfather Henry Austin Carringer was a carpenter - he built his own house and much of their furniture out of wood.

6) Interior designer - I nominate my mother, Betty (Carringer) Seaver for this award - she re-decorated her parents home on Point Loma extremely well in Oriental furniture and artwork. A close second is my daughter who "advises" her plebeian parents on all things decorative.

7) Calligrapher - my wife Angel Linda gets this award. She has beautiful handwriting and has dabbled in calligraphy. If only she would dot her i's and cross her t's!

8) Knitter - I know someone in my family must have done this, but I have no clue who it might be! It ain't me - I use velcro shoe ties because of my fumble fingers.

9) Singer - my aunts Ruth (Seaver) Fischer and Geraldine (Seaver) Remley take this honor hands down. They sang around Leominster when they were young and stunning, and led family gatherings all their lives. Beautiful trained voices.

10) Mechanical aptitude (a new category) - my father, Fred Seaver, was really mechanical - he loved puttering in the workshop, painting, taking things apart and putting them together. Over the years he managed to amputate several fingers and hurt himself badly several times while puttering. A close runnerup is my son-in-law who does everything mechanical really well, and his two sons look like they will have a mechanical gene also.

10) Computer programmer (another new category) - I thought of one for ME! During my 35 year career in aerospace engineering, I created fantastically intricate and large FORTRAN programs to solve engineering problems in aerodynamics, aircraft performance and thermodynamics. In addition, I wrote programs to calculate radio wave signal strengths and propagation as a hobby. Needless to say, I am a legend at my former company because everybody knows that these programs exist but nobody knows how to use them (heh heh!) or is willing to learn.

Looking back, I can see my Creative Gene trying to escape from the shackles of 1950's conformity - but I was left handed, one eyed, cut crookedly with scissors, sang in the key of J-flat, and couldn't even color within the lines. As a boy, I created realistic baseball games using dice while announcing them in an authoritative voice, made fantastic street and topographical maps of imaginary towns and places, and wrote fictitious slogans to fit radio station call letters (e.g., "as they say in Volatile, South Dakota at station KTPB - Keep The Pot Boiling!).

As a parent, I love to make up games for kids to play (e.g., light pole golf using a tennis ball, impale the snail on the dart board (using live snails), and throwing peas in the cup (a dinner table game despised by my wife and my mother), etc.)

As for creative writing, parody seems to be my forte, and silly, cynical, whimsical or ironic come in close behind (for evidence, see all of my Census Whacks over the last year!). But I am not a humorist or a creative writer - it's just not my forte.

To each their own! I always figured that no life is totally wasted - you can always be a bad example. I've tried but failed!

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