The Chappell Family Website was created circa. 2002. The domain was set up to utilize what was at the time a new Google feature that’s now called Workspaces. Everybody in the family was assigned their own “@chappells.us” account which they could log into for email (on the Gmail platform) and other features, as well as logins to this blog so they could post and share information, stories, pictures, and whatever with the family. I was interested in what the others were doing, for one thing, and also thought it would help to bond familial relationships which were, at the time, strained in certain respects. This was before the advent of Facebook. As time went by, the website’s creator was essentially the only contributor or visitor. When Facebook came along family members hopped onto it with their own pages. The Chappell Family Website creator briefly considered creating a family Facebook page to complement the family website, but the notion was easily dispatched as having no more potential for interest than the website.
One of these days I’ll be gone. Within a year after that happens the website’s hosting account will expire for want of anybody interested in renewing it, the domain registration will likewise expire, and the Chappell Family Website will be history. I suppose it may be preserved to some extent on the Internet Wayback Machine, should anybody ever care to look for it. So, one might ask, has it been a wasted effort? Nah. I’ll save it on a CD or something before I die and give it to the kids, along with the old-fashioned family photo albums. Then I’ll die and it will all be of no further interest to me. Maybe it was never anything more than a personal project of interest only to me. If so, I found the effort, and the product of it, to be personally very satisfying. Especially gratifying have been those occasions when “distant” relatives found the website and contacted me, especially since they nearly all reached out from the United Kingdom, whence my grandfather emigrated to the USA in 1895. He kept virtually all knowledge of his British roots and family to himself and, with the exception of a few letters, photos and clippings that I found more than 50 years after his death, took it to the grave with him.
As I find myself approaching the end of life, I take a kind of comfort in having learned what I could about the family and its history, and in having attempted to preserve and share it on this website, however futile the effort may have been. It occurs to me that the way the internet, technology, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are developing, anything that has been on the web will, unless humanity destroys itself, remain there and probably become more accessible, rather than less. Descendants of my grandfather’s ancestors who might be curious about such things may well find find this website in the Internet Archives and enjoy, as much as I have, learning about the Chappell Family. I do regret, though, that I never visited England, never hiked about Hillesley, never met any of the U.K. relatives in person, never shared tea with anyone there. Well, who knows? Perhaps the next time ’round.
The TV was on and although I wasn’t watching I heard somebody say January 21 is National Squirrel Day. What? Did I hear right? I looked up, but whatever the context was, it was gone. National Squirrel Day? Surely not. They’re rodents, basically rats with a bushy tail. Google-time! Lo and behold, it’s true; although, actually, it’s not just National Squirrel Day, it’s National Squirrel Appreciation Day. You can buy calendars and other squirrel memorabilia to show your appreciation. I suppose I’d admit the little critters impress me with their ability to run up and down tree trunks and jump from limb to limb and scurry along twigs that I can’t imagine would support their weight, slight as it may be. But I don’t much appreciate hearing them scurrying around on the roof of the house, leaving me wondering if they’ve found a way into the attic. And don’t get me started about how they scamper into the street and stop right in front of my car and then they start one way and suddenly reverse and stop again and then, well, it’s just amazing I haven’t killed a few. Yeah, okay, sometimes they’re kind of fun to watch, the way they’re at home in a tree the way otters are at home in a river; or the way cockroaches are at home under the kitchen sink. But, Squirrel Appreciation Day? Seriously?
Yeah, I know, I should write something about Christmas and New Year, but I ain’t got time right now. I really need to use my time more efficiently. This was supposed to be something technology was going to do for us. But, as I often lament, technology (computers, in particular) seems to rob me of more time than it saves me. Which is why I particularly enjoyed this cartoon.