Family Stories: Hitting the 500 Post

Family Stories

Hitting the 500 Post!


Wow… I can’t believe I’ve written 500 blog posts since I first began my blog on the 52 Week 52 Ancestor Stories in 2014. Joining that challenge is what pushed me to begin a blog… as I needed a home for my stories. WordPress quickly became home for me… as it seemed to be the easiest in navigation… although at times, I have to admit I was frustrated. Even today, I have to stop and think when I need to change or add something that I haven’t done in awhile… but it usually comes back to me… I did say usually! My main blog now “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell” was born in late 2014

My very first story I wrote and posted on my 52 Week 52 Ancestor Stories blog was on my grandmother, Ola Askew McKinley… and even though I never had the chance to really know and spend quality time with her… I owe her so much. All my craft genes, from the sewing to my knitting and crocheting flowed from her to me. My mother often tells me, “you’re just like my mother… you always have to have something in your hands to dome, I can easily just lay here and watch TV.” My grandmother could copy anything she laid her hands on… there wasn’t anything she couldn’t copy… and just by looking at it. I have beautiful quilts she made, such intricate patterns like the flower garden and the wedding ring… and all the fabric came from her stash of treasured fabric.

My mother told me a funny story once about grandmama’s fabric stash. While her mother was out working in the family garden, mama decided to sew curtains for her room and for her vanity table after discovering a large amount of fabric in her mother’s treasure pile. Mama sewed away all afternoon on the old Singer pedal machine, hoping to finish before her mother came in that afternoon. Mama was so happy and excited at how everything looked, but soon her mother appeared in the doorway. She stood there with tears running down her cheeks… and my mother didn’t understand why… she thought she’d be happy to see what she had done. My grandfather put his arms around my grandmother and told her not to cry, that he would buy her new material. Grandmama usually only sewed with scraps, feed sack material or anything else she could salvage… not sure how she happened to have had that large amount of new fabric, but she must have had something in mind for it. All ended well though, as granddaddy took her to town and she came home with new fabric…. he never denied her anything!

After I finished writing those first 52 stories…. Yay to me for finishing that year long challenge… I soon thought that my first blog seemed to only fit those ancestor stories, so I began to build a new blog where I could write several type of stories. Soon “Everyone has a Family Story to Tell” was born; it’s so hard to come up with a blog name. No sooner than you build it online …then you quickly think of others, but at some point you have to just let that go… and Write!

As I young girl mama only remembers one story I wrote… and it was for a school project. The teacher even told her how much she had enjoyed reading it, saying how she could see that I had put a lot of thought into it… she gave me an A! Mama kept it for years folded in her jewelry box… but somehow with moves, it disappeared… but she never forgot my words and has told me often. The story was about our large metal living room fan that sat in the living room window. It was our air conditioning… and those hot Georgia summers kept it very busy. As times changed… day daddy brought home an air conditioner one day, which took its place. While we gave another thought to missing that old fan… the fan had feelings and it soon found itself on the junk pile heap at the local dump. It longed for the summer days in its old home… smelling the morning coffee as its metal blades whirled a breeze throughout the house. The old fan missed its old home… just laying there waiting for someone to rescue it… and one day it finally found a new home. It received a new paint job… now painted green and once again whirling a breeze throughout another home… but it wasn’t the same… the smells were different… no morning coffee. I guess I might assume that I loved the smell of coffee from a young girl… and I sure enjoy its smell today… having it morning, afternoon and evening. It’s never too late for coffee!

Blog Banners

In the beginning I only used one of WordPress’s photos for my banner, then I became brave and worked on designing my own… and to celebrate my 500th blog post, I created a new banner.


old banner

Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell (3)

With the celebration of 500 posts, I thought it was time for a new banner on my blog… and that’s always so hard to do. I originally had it all black and grey until hubby said, “I think it needs some color.” He was right… the blog name in red added just that bit of color it needed!

My referrers to my blog with the highest numbers come from Facebook… from me posting on my own Facebook page and genealogy groups… next comes from various search engines, WordPress Reader, Pinterest… and then various blogs too numerous to mention. I do Thank each and everyone of you who have linked back to my blog… it’s very much appreciated!

best ever

Lost Files of West Haven 2010  was published on Dec. 7, 2015… a post that had the most overwhelming hits ever… I still keep waiting to top this one, but… Honoring the Boys on the Lost Files from West Haven High School, West Haven, CT…. I don’t think will ever be topped. I wrote on a lost file found… listing the boys who left school to join the service after the bombing of Pearl Harbor! It was a file that almost had been tossed in 2010 when the school was cleaning out files! Someone had the hindsight to preserve at the local West Haven Veterans Museum,… where I discovered it in a frame… and I just knew I had to tell its story!


The majority of my readers are from the United States, but it always amazes me to think, that somewhere… around the world… someone is translating my English words into their language… just to read my blog. I’m so overwhelmed whenever I think of that! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think my blog would go anywhere outside of my own country! The computer is a beautiful thing!


How awesome is WordPress to do all the hard work for me… just click on what you need and Bingo… they make you a graphic! It’s so humbling to look back at all I’ve written through the years. I’m definitely not my mother’s daughter… as she says… writing is not something she ever enjoyed… and often ponders as to who I inherited my love of writing from! I’m still trying to figure out that one too…. and it isn’t my father either! He would be the one to repair my computer… not write on it.

Besides my family stories, I’ve joined many challenges through the years and even wrote in the November NaNoWriMo 50,000 writing challenge … writing 50,000 words in thirty days.  Yes, I finished… with a total of 50,092 words.

Besides the first 52 week Ancestor challenge in 2014,  I’m again doing it this year  ,but taking a different twist in writing the weekly prompts… do check me out.

In 2016 I discovered a challenge called the A to Z April Challenge… where you write daily during the month on a different letter each day… on the topic of your choice. I first learned about it three days after it began… but it sounded like so much fun… that I just jumped right in.

My first year in that challenge had me racking my brain for a writing topic… especially as I didn’t quite even understand the process. But finally I came up with 2016: Southern Foods and Memories. They said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew. It was hectic being totally unprepared… but it was a fun month of writing on my Southern foods and memories.

2017: Conversations with Mama was a somewhat easier topic for me as I had journaled our conversations for years… so I researched some of my favorite topics to write on. Mama often tells me now that she had no life… but just read through our early conversations… she did a lot in her life… now if I could only convince her… again!

2018: All About Nancy Drew has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another to equal it. It literally had me researching every day for over six months… researching, reading and perfecting every post. I was totally consumed with Nancy Drew for months… and still am! If you read Nancy Drew… do drop me a line! And if you still have your Nancy Drew books…. and they need a home… drop me a line!

Do check in with me on April 1st this year (2019) as I kick off a month of daily blogging on A to Z – Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… If you have never heard of this challenge… hop over on the link as I have a “How To” with tips and ideas on joining this challenge. I’ve met up with some awesome bloggers on the A to Z and look forward to seeing what they come up with this year. April is always a busy month for me as we’re always traveling, so I try now to have my posts written ahead of time… leaving me to only have to slightly edit before posting.

I’m sending a big “Thank You” to all my readers… whether you’re a regular follower or occasionally stop in… it’s always nice to see you! Next time, bring your coffee and sit a spell… always love hearing from you!


To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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