2009: A Look Back

Dear 2009,

Well, it’s that time again…time to say good-bye.  Last year, I said good-bye to your cousin 2008 and called you a “new friend” that was knocking on my door.  You did knock me around a bit, so I’m not sure if “friend” was the right word for you!  You went by so quickly that my memories are blurry, and it’s hard to remember even the good gifts you gave me.  But I will try, for I am grateful that I got to spend the year with you.  After we reminisce a while, don’t let the door hit you in the behind!  It’s time I “unfriend” you, my friend, and make room for my new buddy, 2010.  I’m sure you will understand.  Let’s toast to all the good times we had together before you leave!


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Is it just me, or does everyone have a hard time remembering events of the previous year?  Each December 31st, I seem to have a hole in my memory, particularly when it comes to the months of January and February of that year.  I must hibernate during those months and later try to forget the bitter cold days without sunshine.  Once again I shall attempt to relive the year – thankful for the good stuff, hopeful that the not-so-good stuff was meant to be for a reason, and joyful that I get the opportunity to begin another year.

In the world of genealogy, my one significant find was the marriage record of my great-grandparents, Jan Piątkowski and Rozalia Kizoweter.  As a result of this find, I learned the names of four more of my great-greats!  Two other genealogical finds occurred this year that I have not yet written about – stay tuned in 2010 for stories about my cousin who died in the concentration camp at Auschwitz and my cousins who died fighting in the so-called “Great War”.

Speaking of cousins, as a result of this blog I “met” several new cousins this year!  These cousins are on both sides of the family – Frank and Carl (dad’s mother’s line), Joe and Marlene (mom’s mother’s lines), and Vickie and Jackie (mom’s father’s line).  A few of my cousins are now my Facebook friends, and at least one might actually have photos of my great-grandmother!

In March, the world and I said good-bye to actress Betsy Blair – although I did not see her often, I have missed her greatly since her passing.  The absolute best “personal” genealogical news was the birth of my second nephew, Luke, in April.  He has given me much joy in the last eight months!  His older sisters and brother gave Aunt Donna much joy as well.  Natalie grew into a beautiful young woman – and grew taller than her aunt (how did that happen?).  Ava’s stories make me laugh more than any comedian’s, and Nick’s smile still melts my heart.  Luke is already showing them who’s boss even though he’s the “baby”.

In March, two of my German Bergmeister cousins visited me in Philadelphia for a fun dinner.  I finally met one of my second cousins for dinner in her hometown, and since then she has become my new big sister.  As the year closed out, I became an honorary aunt when my best friends welcomed the birth of a daughter – I will take my auntie responsibility as seriously as I do for my other nieces and nephews.

I was fortunate enough to travel a bit this year for both work and pleasure.  Some of my best memories of 2009 happened while traveling, including a birthday beach day in Luquillo, Puerto Rico; visiting old and new friends in San Diego; and traipsing through the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France.  Unfortunately, I repeated a 2008 mistake and only saw the local beach once this past summer…and once again I resolve that it will not happen again!

I enjoyed many good times with family and friends this past year.  Some big family events included my niece’s confirmation and 8th grade graduation, and baby Luke’s baptism.  One of my best friends was installed as the pastor of a parish, and another priest friend was named Monsignor.  My brother turned 50 while our father hit 75!  I tried to savor every dinner with friends.  Thanks to Facebook, I re-connected with old friends and classmates.  A bunch of us who went to grade school together had an enjoyable mini-reunion in October, and I made some “new” friendships from those “old” names from my past.

It didn’t seem possible, but the Phillies made it to the World Series for the second year in a row!  Even though the outcome was different than last year, the ride was fun – watching those games are high on my list of favorite memories from this past year.

Two of my personal dreams died this year.  I’m still mourning their loss, but I am slowly learning that it is possible that new dreams may take their place in my heart.

I tried to stay entertained this year, though as usual I was far from being “current” with my choices for reading, music or movies. Favorite reads this year: 1599 – A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro, The Doomsday Key by James Rollins, and the Brethren trilogy by Robyn Young.  Among dozens of other books, I re-read an old favorite: Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton.  Favorite albums this year: Release by Sister Hazel, Cradlesong by Rob Thomas, Ali E Radici by Eros Ramazzotti.  Some old favorites got increasing airplay on my personal playlists by the end of the year: Feeling Strangely Fine by Semisonic and Congratulations, I’m Sorry by Gin Blossoms.  I was fortunate to see Reilly & Maloney in concert – their music has resonated with me for over 20 years now, and they still sound great!  I can only remember seeing one movie in the theater this year – fortunately it was Star Trek, which was awesome.

After years of reading about Montségur, I visited in September and climbed to the top.  While catching my breath, drinking some wine, and enjoying the view, a man hiked by and commented in accented-English, “You really know how to live!”  I accepted his kind remark as a compliment, and I hope I learn how to live even better next year.  One of my personal goals for this past year was to make every day count.  Many days I forgot to do that, but I am slowly learning to sit back and enjoy the ride.


4 thoughts on “2009: A Look Back

  1. “Is it just me, or does everyone have a hard time remembering events of the previous year?”

    I certainly do! Some are best forgotten, but for me it has to do with looking forward. I get excited.


  2. Donna, some dreams die hard but others are always there to take their place. I can only hope that 2010 will be a better year for you! Take it in stride and walk on…

  3. I agree with the passerby – you know how to live. Hope I can do as well in that department this next year. I sympathize with you on the loss of the dreams, but you have so many obvious gifts that perhaps there is something even better in your future.

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