Tag Archives: family

The Fun of Genealogy

lucille-ball-19I love genealogy. I love the research aspect and more than anything I love the discovery aspect. My husband clings diligently to the “Adam & Eve” theory that we are all related and the rest is just a waste of time. That’s fine for him,  but I guess I am more about the how of the connections. If I am potentially connected to someone, I want to know how, by who, or is it whom. Either way, I want to know.

So, I am a huge fan of Ancestry’s “We are Related,” and Family Search’s “Relative Finder.” I spent yesterday tracking my connections to some of the famous movie stars I am potentially related to. I am always tickled when I can line everyone up to fit.

Below is my most current list of potential famous movie star relatives.

  1. Francis Phillip Wupperman (Frank Morgan)
  2. Eldred Gregory Peck
  3. William Edgar Buchanan
  4. Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery
  5. Humphrey DeForest Bogart
  6. Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (Burl Ives)
  7. Jackson DeForest Kelley
  8. Harry Lillis Crosby II (Bing Crosby)
  9. Jane Waddington Wyatt
  10. Jesse Donald Knotts (Don Knotts)
  11. Lloyd Vernet Bridges II
  12. Margarita Carmen Cansino (Rita Hayworth)
  13. Joseph Frank Keaton (Buster Keaton)
  14. Fess Elisha Parker II
  15. Lucille Desiree Ball
  16. Mary Frances Reynolds (Debbie Reynolds)
  17. Frances Ethel Gumm (Judy Garland)
  18. James Harrison Coburn

judy-garland-m6

I look at this list and two things stand out for me. I am potentially related to the two main characters of the Wizard of Oz, and I am related to a number of strong, beautiful and very funny ladies. Must be in my genes.

Accidents Happen (Guest: Robert P. Bennett)

I’ve just signed a contract for my second novel, “Blind Traveler’s Blues.”

Wow, that feels good!

People ask me all the time. “How did you become a writer?” For me it wasn’t something I had always dreamed of being. It was an accident – literally !

Growing up I wanted to be a lawyer. Frankly, I always enjoyed arguing with people. My family would tell you that my ideas were not mainstream, and that I always find a different point of view than those around me. Alas, I was never a good student. I was not one of those kids for whom learning was easy. And, I was terrible at taking tests. I would study hard, feel I knew the material going in to test day, but then freeze up when the test paper sat before me on the desk. So, I never got the exceptional grades needed to get into a law school.

My saving grace was my mother. She convinced me that, since I always wanted to help people, and always argued the point of view of the disenfranchised, that I would make a good social worker ( her own calling by the way ). At the time I wasn’t sure I agreed. But, I finally decided, I could go to social work school for one year and reapply for law school ( with hopefully better grades ) if that was still what I wanted to do. I finished my studies, got my MSW, and went to work at a group home for mentally challenged men. And then I had a car accident!

Car accidents are great if you want to completely change the direction your life is going. Frankly, they serve no other useful purpose, and I don’t recommend them as a fun way to spend a few minutes. But, it was because of the accident I became a writer, again with my mother’s help (no, mom was not in the car when I had the accident).

At the time she was working at a mental health agency where someone, for some reason, had posted a notice for classes at a place called The New York Studio for Writers. As it turned out, the school was only a couple of minutes from our home. Well, Mom remembered that I had always been writing stories and little diddies growing up. She gave me the notice. I made a phone call. Soon after, I was sitting with a small group of wannabe writers learning the craft.

That was more than seventeen years ago. Since then I’ve devoted my life and my writing skills to what I call “issues of disability,” everything from sports to politics. I write about people who challenge societal views of what we commonly, and mistakenly, call ‘disabilities’ and ‘handicaps.’ I write about technology that helps people with disabilities lead better, easier, more productive lives. I write about social and physical barriers and how to circumnavigate them. You see, what I’ve learned over the years is that we’re all disabled in one way or another. Some disabilities, like my need for a wheelchair, are more obvious than others. Some, like glasses or hearing aides, are more socially accepted. In my worldview, it is society itself that is disabled because it consciously or unconsciously creates physical/intellectual/emotional barriers for people.

Some six years ago or so I wrote an article about a prototype device that would combine GPS and virtual reality technologies to allow blind people to navigate through their world. After the article was published, my brother and I thought, “what would happen if the device had a glitch, allowing the user to ‘see’ an event that was happening a few blocks away from where he currently was.” That became the impetus for Blind Traveler Down a Dark River, the first book in the Blind Traveler series. The second book, Blind Traveler’s Blues, is soon to be published, in ebook format, by Echelon Press.

If you have something to say, don’t wait for an accident – try writing.

Robert Bennett
Writer/Lecturer
Issues of Disability
Author: The Blind Traveler Series
http://www.EnablingWords.Com

Torn from Normal: My Review

I am sure that if you know who I am, you probably know who Martin Bartloff is. Martin and I have a history where his book is concerned. But during the month of November, while we werre both participating in NaNoWriMo, he had some doubts as to whether he could finish his. So I made a deal with him, if he made his 50,000 words, I would read his book by 12/16/2010. You can see by the date of this post, that I have days to spare.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to read his book because I didn’t think it would be good, I had explained to Martin several times, that it just wasn’t my type of book. I had chosen not to read it for very personal reasons. Martin now knows those reasons, but it seemed very important to him that I read this book, so I did.

I finished it today. It was exactly as I expected it to be. I had some issues, but all techinical. Below you will find my very honest review of Martin Bartloff’s TORN FROM NORMAL. Would I recommend this book? you ask. Absolutely. It is a wonderful book, just be prepared. LOVE STORY ain’t got nothin’ on TORN FROM NORMAL when it comes to emotion.

“Martin Bartloff has taken a horribly complex topic and developed a beautiful story from it. TORN FROM NORMAL is by far one of the most emotional books I’ve ever read. Bartloff uses his warm voice/style to tell readers a stirring and evocative tale of teen angst. Broaching the most difficult of topics, from adoption, grief, and teen suicide, Bartloff takes readers into the very hearts and souls of his characters as they deal with each of these things. Martin Bartloff has the spirit of a remarkable storyteller and should be applauded for his deft handling of such darkness.”

On a different note, if you read my Blog on any kind of regular basis you know that one of our Echelon authors is going through a horrible time right now. We are all saying lots of prayers for Dave Anderson (author of KILLER COWS), but Martin took things a step farther. Martin has committed to donate all his profits from his Kindle sales through Christmas to Dave and his family. You can check out the info on Dave’s condition by visiting his page on The Caring Bridge. But you can also help Dave and his family by purchasing your copy of TORN FROM NORMAL by Martin for Kindle.

Torn from Normal:

Torn from his normal life by a double tragedy, Andy Riley finds himself living on the beach with street kids. When a robbery goes wrong, the kids attack him. A blue Porsche races to the rescue—driven by the man his friends tried to rob.

Danny has had many foster brothers over the years and knows his father won’t leave a kid bleeding in an alley all alone. They bring Andy home and discover a boy in the depths of despair. Danny welcomes Andy as a new brother, eager to soothe his own loneliness and offer his help and friendship.

An abusive aunt, eager for the government check to support her nephew, demands custody of Andy. The loss of his new family is more than he can bear. When he disappears, Danny and Marvin hurry to find him, before it’s too late.