Getting to Know: Carol Griffin (oldbag165)

I’m so thrilled to be able to tell you Carol (oldbag165) is my latest interviewee.

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Hello Carol. Well let me start this interview by saying how happy I am to be able to interview you. You have this uncanny ability to scrap such that it showcases your beautiful photos and tell wondrous stories. We can’t wait to learn more about you. Can you start us off by telling us a little bit about you?

Well, there is the “Real Me and the “Professional Me.” (And no, I do not have a diagnosis of multiple personality disorder).  The “Professional Me” is a pretty serious person. I got a BS in psychology and then took time out from school to get married. I worked and helped put my husband through medical school but once he graduated, we found that we really did not have that much in common any more. So, we parted ways and I went back to school and obtained my Masters in Social Work.
My first job real job out of undergraduate school was working as a child abuse investigator. It was hard work but rewarding. I learned early on never to say “This is the worst thing I have ever seen,” because you were sure to see something worse the next day. I continued this work while I studied for my Masters. And in a profession renowned for burnout and short tenure, imagine my surprise to wake up one morning and realize I had been doing this work for close to twelve years.  Although I left the State agency soon after, I have been employed in some aspect of child maltreatment ever since. Wow, that is 34 years in the child abuse field! I guess it is OK to admit that since I will disclosed my age in a minute. Currently I work for a program of the School of Social Work at the Univ. of AR at Little Rock and develop the training curriculum for new field staff and supervisors in the same state agency where I got my start.
The “Real Me” is 58 years old, and according to my friends is pretty much of a nut case. I was born in Oklahoma but have spent most of my life in Arkansas. I am the oldest of my mother’s four children which sounds straightforward. But in reality my mother has two set of children. My closest sister is two and a half years younger than I and then there is a 15 year break between her and my next sister! Needless to say, that sister was somewhat of a surprise to everyone. But my mother did not want her to be an “only child” so 19 months later along came my brother. Interestingly enough, there are 19 years between me and my mother and 19 years between me and my brother.
I am now married for the second time and this time it is to the most wonderful man in Arkansas. (OK, so I am a little biased.) We both enjoy hiking, wildlife photography and working in our yard. I am also into genealogy and manage our extended family website for the US branches of the family. And of course, I love digital scrapping.

I am always humbled and grateful to hear that good people like yourself can find the caring and strength for such challenging important work. Thank you Carol.  How did you find digital scrapbooking and DesignerDigitals?

I started out as a paper scrapper, thanks to an inspired gift from my sister and sister-in-law of a starter kit. I began seeking out books and magazines to help with ideas. And then one day I saw a magazine on digital scrapbooking with this super layout by Pattie Knox. (She later put that template out as a color challenge freebie on 020109). I bought that magazine, bought a subscription and basically never looked back. I found the DD site through one of the ads in the magazine, made a visit and again, basically never looked back.

Oh, I’d agree. Pattie is super inspiring and such a great teacher. You made the switch to digital seamlessly. I have to say, and you probably know this, but your heritage pages are my runaway favorites. This is one of my favorite pages of yours

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I adore the tale you so beautifully ‘weaved’ in their love story.  Your journaling compels me to tell “my story” better! How did you get started in genealogy? How did you get so many photos and their stories?

I got my start in genealogy somewhat by accident. We were visiting my uncle and he made an off-hand statement about Tom Green County in Texas being named for my great grandmother’s uncle. I thought, “What? Why have I never heard about this until now?” I went home and started searching the internet for Brigadier General Tom Green. I got lucky because he was rather famous and there was a lot of information on him. And like all good Internet searches one thing just led to another and soon, I was hooked! I tell General Green’s story on these two pages:

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I got lucky with the picture of Tom Green because I was able to buy a post card with this image. Actually, I have been lucky in many ways in regard to pictures. My family was one for taking them, keeping them and writing on the back of them who the people were! Several relatives with who I have connected via Anestry.com have sent me pictures and others have let me come to their homes and take photos of the photos. As for the stories, some are recalled from childhood, but many others I have found on the Internet. For example, I found out in this way that my great grandmother’s brother (the same grandmother mentioned above) was the appellate judge on the Scopes Monkey trial. Again, I find myself wondering, “Why did I never hear this from my family?”

Wow. It would be such a shame that story and photos with them could get lost. What are your suggestions for someone getting started in genealogy and looking to scrap their heritage pages.

First, decide when you scrap whether you are all about the picture or all about the story. (I guess you can figure out where I am on that continuum). Since I am all about the story, I would say, talk to everyone in your family and extended family who is still alive. I think too many times we reach the age when we become interested in family history right about the time the last person who could tell us anything dies. Ask them about amusing stories or anecdotes. We all love to tell off on each other and you get some fascinating information. Google the names you are interested in – it is amazing sometimes what you will find! I found my biological father who I had not been able to locate for 12 years this way and I found verification of a Comanche raid on a great, great grandfather’s homestead in 1863! Then learn about the times when the ancestor lived. I think it adds dimension to my pages when I can place their stories not only in the immediate context but also in the larger world context.

Definitely. I find your pages have such a depth to them. You go beyond the story and create such a feeling. Truly we are lucky to get a glimpse into your family history. Thank you. What do you use for your scrapping equipment?

I am lucky to be able to have Photoshop CS5 on both my big computer and my laptop. I have a Wacom Intuos3 table at the house and a Bamboo tablet that fits in the bag with my laptop. I have a Nikon D200 and Nikon D80 with a wide angle, macro and 500mm zoom lens. MY DH and I got two cameras so that we were not always trying to take the camera away from each other on our trips ☺. I am a telephoto kind of girl and he is a wide angle kind of guy.  I exclusively use supplies bought at DesignerDIgitals!

So funny about the different lens you and your DH share.  It’s a match made in photographic heaven! Ok Here are the ‘tough’ questions. You are stranded on a desert island with your laptop and camera. Which three people (anyone yes even Brad Pitt!) would you have with you and what 5 digital supplies would have survived the journey?

Three people, hmmmm….that would be my DH, and Carl the Cocker as choices 1 and 2. Carl thinks he’s people. Number three is harder but you did say a desert island. So maybe, Les Stroud from the Survivor Man TV show because he can find food and water anywhere! And he plays blues harmonica – how good does it get. Unless he decided that Carl looked like food.

As for supplies, I guess it would be cheating to hope the DVD in my laptop bag with all my DD supplies on it survived with the laptop? OK, if I absolutely had to limit myself to 5:

• for papers I would want Lynn Grieveson’s Antiquities Paper Pack 2  I return to these papers time and time again.
• Overlays would be Lynn’s Worn Page Edges No. 02  is another that I return to over and over
• Katie Pertiet’s Oiselett Rouge Kit
• Katie’s Yesteryear Kit
• Pattie Knox’ Gone to the Dogs Kit (so that Carl can continue his journal)

Great choices but what no Brad Pitt?! What would be your dream trip to photograph? 

This is after I get off the island right, so I have already been to the beach. Let’s go to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge during the salmon run so I could photograph the grizzles.

Oh Carol you are cheeky!  ☺ Yes the dream trip would come after the island getaway. The grizzlies would be amazing to photograph. You have some beautiful wildlife photography in your gallery. Hummingbirds, Bees, Swans! Fabulous! What’s your favorite thing to scrapbook? What are you most proud of scrapping? What is your favorite layout and why?

Ugh, in some ways that seems like choosing which of your children is your favorite. But really my main love is the heritage pages. I am making a beautiful book (that will probably take me the rest of my life) to capture all the family stories and documents that I can. This will not be a bound album because I want to be able to put the paper documents that support the pages in sheet protectors behind the scrapped pages.

And so, probably one of my favorite pages is this one of my grandmother when she was 16 years old which can be found here Times of My Life

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I love this pensive picture; I love the “idea” of all that she saw; I love the memory of her telling me about going to see Helen Keller lecture and I love how it all just sort of came together on the page.
Carol, that it such a beautiful page. Your grandmother was beautiful. Thank you so very much for taking the time to chat with me today. I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface of getting to know you.  Thank you being such a valued member of this community and thank you for the interview. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
Carol’s gallery can be found here.

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