Saturday, November 14, 2015

When the Unthinkable Happens . . .

Sometimes, the mind refuses to focus. How can writing possibly flow from that?

I was so overjoyed for a fellow geneablogger when I learned of her "adventure" approaching this November: a two week trip to Paris. Of course, wifi accessibility permitting, she was planning to post to her blog as she traveled. After all, that is what bloggers do, is it not?

I had first met this fellow blogger online, of course, but since we both claim California as our resident state, we each found ourselves planning to attend the same genealogical conference last summer. Moving from virtual friendship to reality, we made plans to meet in person.

The way I actually met Elise Ann Wormuth, the blogger behind Living in the Past: A Family History, face to face turned out to be quite endearing. We had planned to sit together at the luncheon presentation on the first day of the DNA conference at the Southern California Jamboree. Of course, I ended up talking to someone in the hallway on the way to lunch, and was late. By the time I arrived at the banquet room, it looked like every seat had already been claimed.

Then, I spotted this woman, about halfway up the room, waving a sign with my name on it. It was Elise. She had been watching for me all that time.

How can you forget a person like that? Of course, I read her blog and occasionally interact with her on social media. But that is just plain vanilla virtual reality. A vignette like that first impression of a stranger, met over lunch, goes so much farther than the game face we wear when we're trawling around on our favorite Internet sites.

And so, it was with a pit-of-the-stomach twinge of apprehension that I realized, today, upon hearing the horrific report on international news, that a piece of my world really has touched the very spot where so much pain has just been suffered.

I couldn't help but think of Elise's weary-traveler report, after touching down at the Charles de Gaulle airport just the other day, and her later (but thankfully cheerier and less sleep-deprived) report, posted on the very day in which the attacks were later to happen, after a day about town.

But what I really want to read is her report today. For there not to be a post today would be unbearable. I realize Paris is a city of over two million people, and while the sudden loss of over one hundred fifty lives is shocking, Elise and her party may be far removed from those parts of Paris where so many lost their lives in this tragedy.

Or not.

While Elise certainly didn't write it this way—nor did she ever dream it would happen, I'm sure—this is the type of cliff-hanger post that I'm struggling to hold on for.

Above: "Peace for Paris," image created by French graphic designer Jean Jullien and shared on his Twitter feed yesterday. Becoming an expression of universal solidarity, it has already received fourteen thousand "likes" and has been retweeted well over twenty two thousand times.



  1. I hope your friend is OK, it's a sad world we live in.

  2. Sheis okay! She posted a comment explaining how it is.

    1. Thank you for spotting that, Iggy. First thing I saw this morning. Big relief.

  3. Such sad news, makes you wonder if travelling anywhere is worth it. The world needs to get it's act together and get rid of all the terrorists. Now we have refugees supposively coming into this country...scary...from the group I saw they were all women , no children...scary for sure.
    I hope you friend will get some enjoyment from her trip, I am sure she has looked forward to it for a long time:)

    1. Yes, I'm sure she wasn't expecting this to be part of her "big adventure." Thankfully, it sounds as if she wasn't anywhere near all the disruption...and it's unlikely any more such events will occur there, now that everyone is on high alert...hopefully...

  4. Thank you for this lovely post. We're hoping that tomorrow we'll be able to meet our private tour guide and visit Notre Dame and environs. The Parisians seem to be determined to carry on, and we will too!

    1. Elise, I am just immensely relieved that you all are safe! And hope you can pick up on your adventure in much more the manner you had anticipated. While undoubtedly unnerving at the moment, this will become a vacation story that likely will stick with your family for generations to come...


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