Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Flexibility-My New Name For The Speaking Game

January 10, 2012. The day I was scheduled to speak at the Cheyenne Genealogical and Historical Society. This time of year is always a gamble for such things, but today couldn't have been more perfect weatherwise. A leisurely drive to Cheyenne, a few hours to do a bit of research in the wonderful genealogy department, friendly library staff and volunteers to chat with, who could ask for more?

My usual habit is to find the room for the meeting and make sure I am going to the right room. I was puzzled when I didn't see the genealogy meeting on the list of events for the Sunflower Room, but figured it just hadn't been updated yet. I went on to the genealogy department to try to find the things on my "shopping list". This library is one of the best for genealogy.

In a short while I overheard a conversation that caught my attention. "We don't have a meeting room for tonight." Needless to say, I wanted to hear more abut this situation, since I was the speaker for tonight. I finally interrupted the ladies and told them we wouldn't need to worry about a projector, etc, as I always bring my entire inventory of equipment, whether it is needed or not. I have learned that often times something is missing like an extension cord -- and of course, I have it at home, so in the interest of lessening stress (one of my new goals) I just bring everything I have. So this solved the equipment problem.

We looked around the genealogy room and found one wall that was enough blank space for me to aim the projector and yet be seen by folks. Three heads are better than one and soon we convinced ourselves that we could do the meeting in the genealogy room. So we got busy rearranging the furniture, tables and chairs, etc, etc.

I asked how many may be coming, and the ladies said usually about 25 people. It would be cozy, but we managed to squeeze about 30 chairs in a long section and felt everyone would have a good view of the wall. I went out to my truck and got my equipment and I set it up to make sure it was going to work okay with the set up we planned. It worked beautifully. Now we just had to wait until the attendees arrived for the "true test".

I went back to my research and the other ladies went back to what they were doing. I did find one important piece of evidence that I was looking for, so I was a happy camper, momentarily.

Finally, the members of the Society began arriving and they all seemed okay with the necessary arrangements. They have their business meeting first and that went just fine. Then about 7 pm the public started arriving and the room became a scene of a lot of activity. We had to start finding more chairs, and then more chairs, and then more chairs. Our original 30 was not going to handle the crowd at all. Needless to say everyone was getting very well acquainted with their neighbors as we squeezed folks closer and closer together. I know from the number of handouts that there were at least 50 people there, and that is a lot of people to squeeze into a very small space.

I hadn't felt a microphone would be necessary with a small compact group of 30, but now we were so spread out all over the genealogy room it was not going to work without a microphone. Having a sore throat to begin with, I just couldn't yell loud enough. One lady in attendance had an advantage over all of the rest of the folks. She was hearing impaired and could read lips, so who would you say was handicapped in that scene? She was so nice and had her canine companion with her and the dog laid down next to her and took a nap as we humans scrambled. Finally, one of the ladies called her husband and asked him to bring the microphone from home and soon we were back in business and continued with the rest of the program.

Everything went smooth as silk for the rest of the evening. Good responses and good questions, and a very enjoyable meeting. I feel folks may have gotten some good ideas and new tools to help in their genealogical quest. One gentleman told me that his goal is to learn at least one new thing a day, and tonight he learned five new things, so he is ahead of the gsme.

Oh yes, the name of the program is "Not Your Grandmother's Genealogy". And also I made it home before midnight when the next big storm is expected to hit. I felt kind of like Cinderella, I had to be back at the castle by midnight. I sure didn't want to be turned into a snowy pumpkin!

Moral of the story? Be flexible, be innovative, keep the stress down, have a fun time in spite of challenges that may come up. All good goals for life as well as speaking at meetings. Patj

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