16 June 2009

Sheri Goes To Samford - Sophomore Year Part 2

We made it to Birmingham (despite the torrential rain, thunder and lightening) in plenty of time to lay in the necessary supplies to make it through the week: The 3 C's = coffee, cookies & cigarettes.

I saw familiar faces in the registration line and every one of those had a smile and a hug for me. I was pleased to know that I had been elevated in status at the dorms. Last year I was in the dungeon, this year I am on the 1st floor and have a great view from our window. Just across the road is the weight room in the Samford gymnasium. Tonight's entertainment is an especially good looking young man in red shorts (that's all, just red shorts) lifting a barbell. I am working on getting the award for outstanding dormitory behaviour. Two nights into the week and only once did my neighbor have to bang on my wall . (To protect their identity, I won't tell you that Elissa Scalise Powell and Deb Deal are my neighbors)

After orientation on Sunday, those of us in the Pro Gen group met for a photo. My group has been together for over 1 year now and I feel as if I already know them, but it was nice to see that they were real human beings.

Front row from left to right: Elissa Scalise Powell, Angela McGhie, Craig Scott, Janis Gilmore

Back rowm from left to right: Patti Hobbs, Linda Alexander, Debbie Wayne Parker, Cathi Desmarias, Heather Choplin, Kelly Holderbaum, Marietta Grissom, Tina Sansone, ME, Doug Burnett, Honey Ryan, Harold Henderson, Pam White, Anne Shaurbaugh

My choice of class this year is the Intermediate with Lloyd Bockstruck. Lloyd, if you recall was on the scary list last year and then removed because he is a librarian. In fact he is the Supervisor of the Genealogy Section of the Dallas Public Library. For those who are geographically challenged, that would be Dallas, Texas. He is a charming brain-ee-ack and is simply one of the most interesting men I have ever met. The first day of class he wasted no time digging right in. Starting with tax records for the first half of the day. The other half covered common and not so common pitfalls in research.

In the afternoon we had our first guest speaker. It was none other than Claire Bettag, the "Motorcycle Mama" herself. You certainly remember Claire from my freshman year. Claire was on the scary list, then wiped off, however after the motorcycle incident, I may put her back on the list! I have been stalking Claire to catch her on a motorcycle but so far she is still in her mild mannered teacher mode. I'm not giving up, the week isn't over yet!

Ms. Bettag has a gift for taking a 4 hours lecture and cramming it into one and still cover all the material she intended. Claire knows the land record holdings of the National Archives like the back of her hand. We learned mostly about the land records in Record Group 49 as well as what the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and GLO (Government Land Office) had to offer. Private Land Claims, a subject dear to her heart, was touched on. If you ever get the chance to hear Claire lecture, make sure you get a front row seat (so you can see her, she's really short!) and buckle your seatbelt (she talks really fast).

It was almost the end of the day when Mr. Bockstruck won my heart forever. Out of the blue he tells us about this incident he witnessed that involved two DAR ladies, dressed in their finery and bling-bling waiting on a street corner in Washington DC for a cab to take them to Continental Congress and a Lady of the Evening. (That's Southern-ese for a Hooker) You will have to see Mr. Bockstruck if you want the rest of the story.

This year I felt even more welcome as I was joined at my smoking patio by another nicotine freak. Last year I was either the only smoker in Birmingham or there are a lot of secret smokers out there hiding. Anyway, the gentleman from Texas technically doesn't smoke since he doesn't actually buy any cigarettes (his definition ) but I was glad of the company even though it cuts into my rations.

Well back to the window sill for the rest of the show. I'll be back.......


  1. Thanks, Sheri! When I do land research I will now think of your adventures, Lloyd's mysterious story, and Claire's private land claims.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the photo of the "Progen" group attendees. And, well, just thank you, period, for sharing the experience with us. I absolutely ADORE your writing style.

  3. Sheri:

    You're going to be too smart to hang out with in CA.

    Love living vicariously through your experiences. The thunder and lightning is thanks to your making fun of nuns. Anyone in their right mind wouldn't sit next to you in a storm.


  4. Amy - Glad to be of some help.

    Lee - If it weren't for you Lee, there never would have been a Pro Gen or a NGS Quarterly discussion Group. You are the one who brought us all together, it is your brainchild. It is you who needs to be thanked.

    fM - You keep setting that bar higher and higher, I don't know if I'll ever be able to reach it, but it won't be for lack of trying. Re: Jamboree - I'm bringing mardi gras beads and leaving my brains behind!