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I am in midst of family crisis … again (maybe still is more accurate).
I may participate sporadically, but please don't necessarily expect
that I will be able to respond promptly to messages, questions, etc.
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|awarded 4/3/2021 by Melanie Paul|
Her mother imprisoned her in frilly, ruffled, lacy dresses and entered her in contests, The result was the photo at left, showing her as the 1944 Gerber baby.
Her father pretended she was the son he had always wanted. The action packed life of a boy was much more fun. When she came in from play torn, filthy, and with skinned knees, her mother would exclaim "Oh my God!" in horror while her father would ask "Does the other one look worse than you?".
Gaile was born in the wrong place. Despite not having seen anything outside New York City, she always hated city life and wanted to live on a farm and have animals (probably like the ones in the zoo). She also grew up in the wrong era and continuously rebelled against the strongly enforced gender stereotypes of her generation. At a very early age, her career goal of becoming a pilot was established. It didn't matter that everyone told her "no, you don't want to be a pilot - you want to be a mommy". While other girls took Elizabeth Taylor as their role models, Gaile idolized Amelia Earhart.
She was an athlete when athletics were considered unfeminine. In high school, the only sport open to girls was swimming. Being small, a disadvantage for a swimmer, didn't impede her since very few girls were willing to get their hair wet.
She never could understand what liking math, science, mechanical stuff, and athletics had to do with femininity (or lack thereof) but she also enjoyed a few more socially correct things, like dressing up for the high school senior prom in 1959, illustrated at right.
In defiance of her parents' ultimatum to learn something useful in college (specifically home economics), Gaile and another young lady were the first two female undergraduates admitted to a small prestigious engineering college.
In 1962, four years post-Sputnik amid the national frenzy to catch up with the Russians, armed with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, Gaile set off to slay dragons. Alas - when she could not correctly answer the interview question "how many words a minute do you type?" the dragons turned into windmills. She gave up tilting at them, admitted defeat, and did what the world wanted - she became somebody's wife and somebody's mommy.
About twenty years later, with two advanced degrees (in Mathematics and Computer Science), two grown sons, a divorce, and a new law prohibiting gender discrimination, she finally began her engineering career.
She worked for government contractors, supporting U.S. military and intelligence agencies in a variety of engineering disciplines (mostly avionics systems, reliability, information systems, and just plain systems), first in NY and later in Virginia. The 1995 photo at left was her official company portrait, used on proposals.
Gaile officially retired in 2003, then worked as a consultant, where she could pick and choose exciting projects on which to work. She had the thrill of working on flight simulators and UAV's
2007 was a year of three major life changes - Gaile officially retired (again), married George Connolly, and they moved to rural Alabama, where they found property that has a 100+ foot waterfall. She made a personal website (Piney Branch Falls) to serve as a journal so that all the widely scattered children and grandchildren can keep up with the events in their lives.
Retirement still doesn't work - Gaile just can't seem to learn to spell "rocking chair". She has an "accidental business" that started with people saying "now that you're retired and have time, could you ...." followed by things like "build or fix my computer" and "design a website for me". Nowadays, she mostly develops custom internet deployed turnkey information management systems (of which a website is a very small portion) for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Her business motto is: FAST - GOOD - CHEAP - choose any two!
A few years ago, Gaile's grandsons (now age 28, 26, and 21) asked for information about family history, so she built a website for their family tree and filled it with what she knew. When she discovered WikiTree, she was overjoyed with everything about it and realized what a feeble joke her previous attempt had been. The thrill of the global concept soon expanded to admiration of everything about the goals and implementation. She wanted to be part of it all to find and add information about her family, try to link to others, and also to volunteer to work on the tekky side.
Many wonderful WikiTree members, with voluminous knowledge of genealogy and great patience with Gaile's naiveté, generously educated her in how to research and properly document profiles as she "adopted" an abandoned gedcom with over 1,000 empty and unsourced profiles. As she learned, Gaile became addicted to WikiTree and gradually became more involved, joining the Profile Improvement Project, starting the Holocaust Project as its coordinator, becoming a Ranger, joining the Unknowns Project, and trying to reciprocate the genealogy training she received by responding to G2G requests for help with technical aspects of WikiTree, the internet, and computers. She developed a tool to convert a spreadsheet into a GEDcom file and a sample demo for a Ranger communication tool and also offered to organize the entire help labyrinth to make it possible to find things easily and explain them logically; but all her attempts to make technical contributions were met with lip-service encouragement, impediments during development, and rejection upon completion. One final episode proved to be the last straw, after which she withdrew from community participation, although she will still be happy to respond to any technical questions if you send her a private message.
By the way ... if you ask her, she'll tell you:
More sources - maybe even some real ones - might be added someday!
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Gaile is 30 degrees from Vinnie Hoxie, 33 degrees from Frederic Remington, 33 degrees from Pablo Picasso, 34 degrees from Edgar Degas, 34 degrees from Alexander Calder, 34 degrees from Camille Claudel, 29 degrees from John Bacon, 28 degrees from Barbara Hepworth, 34 degrees from Norman Lindsay, 31 degrees from Frances Loring, 33 degrees from Florence Wyle and 32 degrees from Elaine Weatherall on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.