A Perfect Wintry PA Day

Theme #6 is WINTER FUN in the SNOW and our book prompt is A Perfect Day by Carin Berger.  See review here.

The children’s book A Perfect Day by Carin Berger provides those of us who grew up a half century ago in small steel towns northwest of Pittsburgh with wondrous flashbacks to what we would call perfect PA wintry days. My siblings and I understand the fun she describes of making first boot tracks in deep, newly fallen snow that covered our double lot property. We know about flopping into snow drifts – the deeper the better. We three brothers certainly know about building snow forts and firing snow balls down on neighbors named Suskavich and Conley. With our sister we built snowmen, carrot noses and twig hair included, and created snow angels until we ran out of untouched yard. Our family didn’t do the skiing or ice skating about which Berger writes, but we can check off every other form of glorious winter fun she illustrates.

For the “rest of the story”, listen to Gil’s podcast below.

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More information about our Heritage 2 Legacy project.

A Perfect Wintry PA Day   .pdf

CLICK HERE to smell warm homemade crusty bread.  (Sorry…just kidding.)

Gil Moegerle

Become Healthier with H2L!

How to Become Healthier and Sexier in 2017

Apparently Our New Heritage2Legacy Project Will Help

You might think my headline is a shameless fabrication intended to draw you into reading the thoughts that follow about our new Chasing Fireflies program (The “shameless” part might be true). However, I based it on an intriguing study I came across about the benefits of storytelling.

Before I explain, allow me to remind you about our new Heritage2Legacy resource. This set of ideas and tools is designed to help you capture and preserve for future generations your most important family stories.

For more, check out the Heritage2Legacy tab at the top of our home page – firefliesblog.com.

Elizabeth Berstein writes in The Wall Street Journal, “Since the dawn of language, people have shared stories with others to…make sense of what happened to them and to bond. Research shows that the way people construct their individual stories has a large impact on their physical and mental health.” and this type of communication “…is sexy.”

I have a reason for passing along Berstein’s observations beyond our mutual interest in good health and that other benefit. She offered several ideas for how to start preserving your family stories. Here are three you might find helpful.

  1. Set aside story time. Find a specific time and a place where you are not rushed and have fewer distractions. Agree this is a time to record, in written or audio form, family stories that help explain your history and heritage.
  1. If you have trouble getting started, try talking about your “firsts.”Tell stories about first experiences – dates, kisses, cars, children, jobs, homes, vacations, schools, hobbies.
  1. Talk about the past, present and future. Our first instinct in family storytelling might be to pass along to our children key historic memories. However, include stories explaining present family circumstances. And don’t forget stories about family dreams and bucket list items also explain to future generations important elements of their family’s heritage.

Here is a great New Year’s resolution – let’s ask the elders of our family to tell us more family stories in 2017.  In the process, during the next 12 months we’ll grow healthier and that other thing.

Gil Moegerle

Christmas Trains, Torments, and Treasures

Heritage2Legacy Podcast #5


Gil Moegerle

Book Prompt 5 of 10
Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer [Review]

Theme:  A Christmas Memory

“Christmas Trains, Torments, and Treasures”

Christmas and model trains go together. When I was young, the uncontested model railroading champions of our extended family were Uncle Wil Powell and his son David. They were #1 in several categories starting with layout size. Theirs wrapped around 2 ½ walls of the full-size basement under their Chicago home.

Gil, Non, & Gary

This brings me to the more modest train layout my brothers and I operated in our Western PA home, and to the great train wreck of  ’58.  As background, each Christmas season us boys gained control of our front room for the indescribable pleasure of assembling and operating our train layout.  A picture I have of this scene is evidence we probably had the smallest, simplest layout in the family.  The important thing is we did not think so.  We thought it was great.  Listen to the rest of Gil’s H2L story below.

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Join us on the journey to archive family stories for our children and/or grandchildren.   For this example,  begin by simply answering the question –  What is one Christmas memory you have?  Now write that memory down and add details to it.  [a favorite gift – one Christmas your family did not celebrate at home – a surprise Christmas visitor – a time when there was a family crisis (health or finances) but the spirit of Christmas trumped the fear of the crisis, etc.]  Perhaps you could call someone to help you add to the memory, and locate a photograph to support your story.  Simply write or record one memory – a moment.  You can do it!

Want to know more about our Heritage 2 Legacy project?   CLICK HERE

The Gift of the Magi

img_8264The story was initially published in The New York Sunday World under the title, “Gifts of the Magi” on December 10, 1905.   It was first published in book form in the O. Henry Anthology The Four Million in April 1906.

We thought we would celebrate its 111th anniversary by asking Gil to read The Gift of the Magi for our Fireflies GLOW read-aloud collection.

If you are interested in having a copy of this short story in reading it to your children or perhaps purchasing it for your home library, we recommend the published version illustrated by P.J. Lynch.



Another Fireflies GLOW episode

Enjoy listening to master storyteller, Gil Moegerle, read the classic Christmas short story, The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry.

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