LIFE: You either quit or keep going. They both hurt.

AN HUMBLE ARTICLE OF PRAYER SUBMITTED FOR THANKSGIVING

I grew up in a sibling family of leaders. We Burnett siblings were all taught by both of our parents to be independent in almost all things from a young age. And that was tangibly reinforced as each of us saw among the others of us the various stages of each one growing toward being the independent people our parents were hopefully training back then. Again, Mom Burnett used to say “you never know what type of person you are raising, you just do your best and hope.”

Music is among the most objectively honest things a person can do in life.
You can either do it or you can’t do it yet.
And neither condition is a permanent state of being.

I had four brothers and four sisters whom I got to know personally while growing up. Yes, there were nine of us children who had lived beyond birth. Our sibling birth years range from 1943 to 1964 a span of over 20 years. I am a late Baby Boomer, the exact middle in that birth order with two older brothers and two older sisters, and two younger sisters and two younger brothers.

That means our mother literally had school-age children from the age of 19 until she was 59 years old. Think about being nearly 60 and attending your youngest child’s high school graduation ceremony. Wow. Different times and societal eras.

Our two eldest brothers were NCAA DIV 1 varsity scholarship athletes.

And although there are literally two generations contained within my sibling family cohort, our parents must have done a great job raising us because I don’t recall any of my siblings ever being purposefully divisive, troublemakers, or liars against one another in order to gain favor or approval. Sibling rivalries, yes. Dustups and scraps, yes. But maliciousness, or vengeful intentions, no.

We each maintained a level of character and decency as we had been purposely taught by our parents and elders that was based on the “Golden Rule” and other standard biblical principles. That doesn’t mean any of us were or are perfect.

I grew up attending St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Paola, Kansas.

I heard my mother say on numerous occasions that if “something” ever happened to her, we’d be able to successfully fend for ourselves competently. She succeeded in that goal and all of us were equipped to live lives of quality. But it was and has always been up to us and our own choices. That’s key.

During this process parents inherently piss off their children. Most people have heard such parental lamentations like: “this hurts me more than it does you” and “you may not understand now but you will later.”

Every year my high school class still gets together for a reunion in the town where we all grew up.

As leaders, we were inherently taught how to deal with “bullies” of all types. We learned that bullies could be friends and strangers of course, but also among the people in your family and inclusive of other dear loved ones.

We learned all of this BEFORE we left our sibling home to make our own paths as autonomous adults in the world at large. I don’t recall ever hearing of someone taking advantage of (or deceiving) any one of my siblings by catching them unaware of such nonsense no matter how things often look in the short or mid-terms of development. And we didn’t get into many physical altercations.

A pre-growth spurt picture with my 8th-grade basketball team. I was 5′ 2″ tall and started at point guard.

We were all taught to play the “long game” as you do in chess.

Some lessons eventually stuck with us as base character traits. We were taught “right from wrong” and we didn’t act like it was someone else’s fault whichever of those we chose to do in a given situation or circumstance. At least we didn’t try to do that within our sibling family or in the company of close family friends because we knew someone or everyone would call it out.

Morning coffees with T 💕

Terri’s Anderson sibling family lived parallel to the Burnett sibling family ethos described here. I also observed how both of her parents interacted with her as an adult. T was groomed to be a refined lady and musical artist.

Professional photo shoot in T’s Office Studio

When she and I became our own branch of the family in 1979, we intentionally raised our two children to hopefully be confident leaders. And ethical people. However, we have learned that what they actually become is largely on them.

All of this “tough love talk” actually does take into account that we all get to a place in life where we’re beset by serious challenges that can hurt us to the literal point of permanent damage or actually kill us prematurely.

Thanksgiving and Homecoming with our eldest. 💕
Visiting our youngest and her family in England. 💕

These are among the “old people lessons” that my mother Violet and Terri’s mother Sintha used to try to give us forewarning of before we became parents of adult children. At some point, you have to let your children stand on their own. And sometimes they won’t like it. Sometimes they will get over it and sometimes they won’t, or at least it might take some living with their own adult children to come to terms with how their own parents have been previously judged. We have already learned that one.

Even though we are successful adults and successful parents with a family of our own by most of those common metrics, and Google searches didn’t exist back then, I was still actually mature enough to know that I was not my parents’ friend or peer – no matter how old I got. It doesn’t work like that in Black culture. I know that showing elders such respect actually doesn’t diminish me in reality, it shows that I can be counseled and taught.

We were fortunate to find out we were musicians.

Sometimes we parents can overprotect to the point of spoiling certain aspects of the development of our children. We all do it no matter how much we try not to make the mistakes with our own children that our parents did with us.

But I do know that I have yet to see anyone who practices evil deeds succeed in this life over the long term. Likewise, reciprocity is simply meted out to balance such extremely warped souls who think that they have all of the answers until they don’t. Sometimes we need such checks and balances to provide a path toward healing.

I come from a noble line of people and am proud to carry on my family’s heritage.

I have learned that familial love isn’t about keeping score. And it is a sad perversion when that type of mentality enters into family dynamics on any level. Weaponizing the Internet to “troll” or “bully” one’s family is comical to someone of my generation because people my age don’t actually need technology as a definitive part of our daily lives like that.

And in an age when you can literally search the Internet on your device until you find something (and you will) that validates or justifies your position, regardless of the topic, the possibility of miscommunication among loved ones is amplified.

We’ve done pretty well for two professional musicians who also became a family in our twenties.

This simply shows a lack of character, or a moral lapse in the least, and the hilariously incompetent use of a potentially marvelous communication tool. It’s like the unintentionally malicious use of email to send stupid chain letters that you didn’t compose to all of your friends without using the Bcc feature to hide their email addresses. Except on purpose.

Starting fights with me or “ghosting” me from behind computer or smartphone screens is like someone cursing me out in a language I don’t understand or speak. You really told me off, but did you? So, using a “meme” as the basis of the title of this article is sort of ironic.

I think the reason that I truly don’t buy into the hype of all that is because I learned enough lessons while growing up and know the difference between doing what is “right and wrong” at the core of my being. I know that hate never wins. I will not practice hate regardless of the situation. I will choose to leave you alone rather than hate you. Hopefully, peace will win.

Having lived long enough now to have been with some fine people at the ends of their lives and witnessing that to a person each one stated in their own vernacular and words essentially that life isn’t about winning arguments or one’s own selfish pursuits.

THANKSGIVING: We always have more to be thankful for than not. We all need the help of others.
Each day is a new opportunity to do something positive and use your talents for good. You might have the opportunity to help someone else help themselves to get through one more day and not give up.

We can usually overcome being imperfect humans and mend family relationships even if mental illness, alcoholism, or substance abuse are part of the dynamics that we need to mend. However, we are not to let ourselves be abused by such wounded spirits no matter if they are embedded within people we love deeply.

LIFE: You either quit or keep going. They both hurt. Read that again.

A house and a home…

💕 We’re proud of our heritage as an active duty military service family.

From March 1979 to March 1983 our family lived in Germany, Maryland/Military District of Washington, and Tidewater Virginia.

Both of our children were also born during those years.

We moved six times in those first four years.

By 1983 when we moved to Missouri I had risen in rank and qualifications so there were fewer assignment billets to post me to.

Thus the pendulum of moving lots stopped and we ultimately lived there for the remainder of our active duty service career and a few years afterwards from April 1983 to February 2001.

Our children essentially grew up in the Missouri Ozarks within the community outside of the major military installation that’s located there.

2013 to forevermore

Terri Anderson Burnett was a music major but went back to school to finish general education courses, taught elementary school, and earned lifetime certification in the state.

We built our first home in 1988.

The photos below include several Polaroid snapshots that my family sent to me when I had to go to the NATO Band and Armed Forces School of Music assignments unaccompanied while they stayed in our home.

Mother Burnett came to live with us there for the first five years after she retired and during the three years I was away on those unaccompanied tours of duty.

# # #

Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 in Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs based in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. 

And it’s ultimately just about lifelong learning

The “artist side of me” thinks that the paradigms of our social and economic systems are inherently set around capitalizing on things we do to perpetuate our species (like childbearing and child-rearing).

MIDI AUDIO MOCK-UP DEMO OF “INTERSTITIUM” BY CHRISTOPHER BURNETT (BMI)

We make industries out of “becoming” and many of us can lose sight that the goal is to actually arrive and “be.”

MIDI AUDIO MOCK-UP DEMO OF “DEFRANZO LOOP” BY CHRISTOPHER BURNETT (BMI)

And as musicians, we all eventually learn that it actually takes many many years after completing a degree program or course to truly master most of the information and materials that were studied and taught.

MIDI AUDIO MOCK-UP DEMO OF “SONG FOR MICAH” BY CHRISTOPHER BURNETT (BMI)

It also truly almost takes just as long to simply recognize that fact because most people are too busy living day to day to pay attention to such nuances and details.

THE STANDARDS, VOL 2, LIVE AT THE DRUM ROOM IN KANSAS CITY: “INVITATION” BY CbQ

But, that’s all part of the process of living and reinforces it’s ultimately about lifelong learning.

“FIREBIRD” BY CHRISTOPHER BURNETT (BMI)

As successful musicians, artists, and people we ultimately learned to first be of service to others and our community rather than simply using every encounter for shallow selfish purposes.

“NOTOS (THE SOUTH WIND)” BY CHRISTOPHER BURNETT (BMI)

# # #

Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 in Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs based in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. 

Shoes Older Than You …

PHOTO: “First Haircut” – Me at age 2, our Barber, and our Dad taken by our Mom

One of the first mentoring sessions that I can remember having from my father included his deliberate efforts to “teach” me how to mow our lawn – certainly a basic and practical skill set that he knew would be useful to me in life. Along with most of the lessons inherently learned from both of my parents, I have subsequently used Cliff Burnett’s method of cutting grass at the various stages throughout my entire life. And with most always excellent results too, I must admit here in hindsight.

These skill set lessons were applicable to learning most anything and largely taught based upon his already having established prior successful experience accomplishing a particular task.

Often he would not say anything verbally to me. He would do the task as I watched, then I would repeat the task the same way that he had done it successfully. I later found out that this process was and still is common, and many people today still learn to do many things this way – particularly within my own Black American culture.

He and my mother divorced not long after I’d completed 9th grade so those lessons ended after that. I have often wished that my own progeny could have interacted with him too. Perhaps they would understand me better in addition to being better themselves from having the experience.

Clifford LeRoy Burnett was born on Sunday, July 5th in 1925 and was a World War II veteran (Navy Sea Bees) who later served in the US Air Force – Greatest Generation. He served just over 19 years on active duty and had reserve time between when his Navy service ended in 1945 and he reenlisted in the Air Force in the late 1950s. Dad used to proudly exclaim that he was “the seventh son of a seventh son.” Subsequently with the advent of Ancestry.com, our family tree validates that indeed he was “the seventh son of a seventh son.”

Dad was also genuinely enthusiastic about life despite growing up through the Great Depression, segregation, and military service during a world war. Although he was a man of relatively few words, he still was a positive person and encouraging most of the time that I can recall. He was a great athlete in his youth and although he was over 30 by the time I was born, Dad was still a fine athlete when I came of age to appreciate such things although he was in his 40s by then.

He only lost his temper with me once that I recall. I was a teenager. I wasn’t listening to his advice as much as I once did because I had begun to have my own ideas and experiences.

PHOTO: T and me at the VA CPAC after a presentation.

Dad was also coaching me to be a baseball pitcher during that period of our life together. I just knew that I was not a baseball pitcher. Dad was a great baseball pitcher in his youth.

I was a fast runner and better suited to be a baseball outfielder. I could throw pretty hard but never had the control to be a baseball pitcher. My younger brother Donnie was the baseball pitcher among us. I liked playing centerfield.

I was also a saxophone player and wanted to do that with my time more than anything else by then. And although Dad was proud of my musical pursuits and appreciated my dedication, he felt I should still be well rounded and developed in other areas too. He was right, of course.

PHOTO: The last wearing of my 20 year old Sketchers today.

I recall from one occasion that I questioned him as to why I had to stand a certain way and go through the specific motions he was teaching me in order to successfully throw the baseball into the old tire used as a target on the back of the old garage.

Dad said to trust him because he already knew doing it that way was most efficient. I debated the fact that I could already throw the ball all of the way from centerfield to home plate and hit the catcher’s mitt – high or low, wherever it was placed. Dad said that was a different skill.

He must have seen the doubt in my eyes. For the first time in my life I had debated something my father was teaching me. That’s not a bad thing, it’s a growing up thing. He just cocked his head.

PHOTO: My most comfortable and favorite pair of shoes for two decades.

Dad said, “okay do it your way and hit the strike zone target, then.” I threw from my normal stance and was not able to consistently throw strikes. I would have walked in a run, or two, or three, or four had I been pitching in a real game.

He must have seen the puzzled look on my teenaged face and yet, I still verbally protested the validity of my own way of throwing the ball out of ego and ignorance. Just like most kids would.

Dad silently shook his head in what seemed to be disgust, picked up the baseball and proceeded to throw strike after strike into the exact middle of the tire target. He threw the ball so hard that it bounced directly back to his mitt for the repeated throws. And I had never seen anyone in real life throw a baseball with the velocity with which he threw the ball. He always hit dead center.

PHOTO: My replacement loafers. Here’s to another 20 years, boys.

Dad could see that I was a bit shaken by such a display of power that I had never witnessed from him before in my life. He calmed me with his big grin and said to trust what he shared with me.

I learned a big lesson that day, as I usually did during my interactions with Dad. I told him as much and how impressed I was with what he had just done. He said for me not to be impressed.

He simply said, “Son, I have thrown lots of baseballs before just now. You have only thrown a few by comparison. I should be this good at it. You will get the same type of experience and practice at something. Just like I have shoes twice as old as you are that I still wear. Old is often good.”

He said if we keep trying, we all usually keep getting better with time.

PHOTO: Lake Erie Duets

Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 at Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs based in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. 

BurnettFamilyUS.org 🦊

🦊 One of our cameras caught the neighborhood fox out at 3:23 am this morning making his rounds. He must vary his route and routine because the last time we saw him on camera was after the last snow fall a couple of months ago. Pretty cool to see him again so soon. We thought he had left (or had been killed) until that previous sighting.

NOTE: We are using “he/him/his” as gender attributes for this fox because we read that this time of year it is the male who goes out to gather food while the females stay with the kitts in the den.

Musings in Cb: MOTHER BURNETT WORDS OF WISDOM (part 1)

Like most people, I have found my parents to have gotten “smarter” along with my own age and ultimately as my adult life experiences increased.

Amazing how that works, huh?

When your parents drop knowledge on you it is often well ahead of when you need or truly understand it.

Here’s one from our late mother, Vi Burnett.

I was in my middle forties when she laid this one on me and am now just truly appreciating what she said more fully because I have used it recently — but I can’t claim it as my own original thought:

“You can’t blame other people for your adult life not being what you want it to be, not even your parents. No, I guess you can but it’s not rational.”

— Vi Burnett, 1924-2012, BurnettFamilyUS.org

Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 at Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians based in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. 

Visit BurnettMusic.biz for more information.

“Black History” is everyday

Here’s an historic professional studio photograph of our late mother Violet Lorraine (b. 1924, d. 2012). It’s on permanent display with several other family photographs in a prominent place in our home.

Mom Burnett graduated from Olathe High School with her racially integrated class of 1941.

Our paternal aunt Aida Burnett was among her classmates and the only other Black student.

At 17, mom entered Pittsburg State Teacher’s College where she attended for two years until returning home to live in Olathe and work at the Sunflower Munitions Plant in service of the national ethos supporting the allied efforts to ensure a victorious resolution of World War II.

She subsequently married our father Clifford LeRoy when he returned home to Olathe after his World War II service as a Navy “Sea Bee.”

Several years after they had started a family together, my father re-enlisted in the active duty military, this time to serve in the Air Force.

I was almost two years old at the time we began these travels and also the youngest child of the family. I remember our military service years as among our happiest.

We had lived in Colorado and France, where three of my four younger siblings were born.

And then we lived in Michigan before settling in our maternal hometown city of Paola in the 1960s where our last brother was born.

Our parents divorced between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Looking back from a more mature perspective, the established foundation we had been given by both of our parents, (along with the strong community paradigm we grew up within during those times,) enabled each of us as fellow school age siblings to successfully meet our challenges with overall resiliency. That’s cool.

Mom would ultimately live the remaining decades of her life as a happy resident and fine citizen of the greater Paola community.

She was also an active member of our church where she even played the piano as part of the music ministry – for services and for the choir.

She worked her way up in her professional career to ultimately serve as a state certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor for the (now defunct) Osawatomie State Hospital. We still have some of her business cards and awards.

Mom was the very first Black person (male or female) to do this type of work there and she even had a very nice “corner office” in her department’s building on the hospital campus.

She helped successfully raise very positively productive children (who were spread over three decades in ages) mostly during the period known as the American Civil Rights Era.

Each of us became adults who were equipped.

This is Black History.

It’s like the history of most any family, really.

And this story could likely be told with similar details by most Black families in America, and in almost any era, or from the perspective of most any generation.

What I would like to emphasize here in telling about our mother isn’t explicit in the preceding inspiring narrative.

But it’s likely the most important thing she’d want told and if not just simply remembered.

Mom never quit. No matter how good or how bad the particular circumstances, her faith remained very steady.

Hers was also a life that I witnessed as being tangible to my own and others, not simply a professional resume or good life obituary.

What’s not mentioned between the above heroic lines is the real heroism of continuing on after her mother died in a car accident when she was only six.

Mom and her baby sister went on to be raised by her aunt and uncle because our relatives didn’t allow their men to raise little girls all alone and by themselves back in those days.

What’s not mentioned between the above heroic lines is the real heroism of continuing on even after her widowed father died one day unexpectedly when his home’s heating stove literally burned his house down in the early morning hours before he was to leave for work.

What’s not mentioned between the above heroic lines is the real heroism of continuing on often positively and often only by her faith.

The importance of those historic lines above is what real good can happen in our own lives and those of other people when we don’t quit.

# # #

Us on the bus.

Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 at Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians based in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.

Visit BurnettMusic.biz for more information.

Family Archives and Kansas History

Our stuff. You know, stuff – not the property or money you leave behind to heirs in a last will and testament. That’s another blog.

Stuff. After many years of consideration and looking at the current reality of our situation regarding heirs and assigns, we realized that our middle aged kids really don’t want our stuff to carry around with them (and their own stuff) after we are gone.

Especially when we also considered how much stuff we genuinely and inherently have accumulated that is not necessarily the typical junk one typically can and does accumulate during a life.

A few years ago, we purposely went through our stuff and got rid of lots of junk. We also totally reorganized those typical bastions of stuff, our storage room and garage. We were ruthless purgers, in that if it was junk, it was gone, regardless of sentiment.

Being selected from among our siblings by our parents to keep certain tangible historic family documents, and admittedly not having a problem with serving in that informal archivist role for our families, we have collected some items related to the greater history of both sides of our family too. We are honored to do it.

We are not famous people, nor celebrities, so we find it wonderful that the State Archives Division of the Kansas Historical Society is interested in taking our collection when we pass on to that next dimension. See https://www.kshs.org

It must also be noted that we are very happy that there is particular interest in historical collections from Black Kansans.

The everyday Black American’s family history is often lost to posterity or overlooked by Ivy League historians doing research.

The contemporary history related to our particular branches of the Burnett and Anderson families now has the opportunity to be tangible during the lives of multiple generations to come.

Thanks to the Kansas State Historical Society our archives can extend beyond all of those individuals who are living now in our family. I like that they may not know us personally but they will know better who they themselves are. Indeed.

These archived items will provide tangible family history that objectively speaks to events during our lifetimes.

This Christopher and Terri Burnett collection will be in the form of donated items reflecting both our personal and professional lives.

We are sharing this journal in a blog with others in hopes that those so inclined will do the same for their unknown heirs.

That’s cool. That’s legacy. That’s closure.

“ON THIS DAY” (February 13, 2011)

? “ON THIS DAY” (February 13, 2011) ten years ago, we took our late mother Violet to lunch at Fort Leavenworth. Mom would have been 97 years old on February 24, 2021.

Here are a couple of photos of us that came up on my photos feed today:

PHOTO: Violet Lorraine Jackson Burnett – February 13, 2011 at Fort Leavenworth

(1) our mom Violet,

PHOTO: We took mom to lunch at Fort Leavenworth on February 13, 2011

and (2) me with our mom Violet.

She’s 87 years old in these photos and you can see lots of dark hair on her head.

I get my red/brown hair coloring and skin tone from her side of the family.

She never dyed her hair and neither do I.

I still have a full head of hair and not much gray.


SOME CANDID MOM PHOTOS OVER THE YEARS


Grandpa “Jack”
(George Jackson)

My maternal grandfather was not bald, so current science says that’s likely why neither am I. Similar findings point to facts regarding specific genes contributing to my not having much gray hair now in the same manner as my parents did not when they were 65. Just the way it goes, I guess.

COVER PHOTO BY OUR FRIEND DUANE HALLOCK

Remembrance + Renewal + Resolutions

This is our traditional end-of-year post. The conclusion of 2020 also marks the end of the second decade of the first century of this millennium according to The Farmers’ Almanac (and the US Naval Observatory). Here’s to Remembrance + Renewal + Resolutions.

MMXX Remembrance

We completely purged and reorganized our home and life together in 2020 to match the phase of life we are now living. That’s pretty cool. As most of you likely know, doing this type of self-healing work has a renewing effect on the soul. Looking at one’s own history can be difficult. But it’s rewarding if you can. For us it was like having these 4+ decades of our life together put more firmly into proper perspective and giving us an objective balance moving forward within ourselves as individuals too. Remembrance + Renewal + Resolutions.


It’s great to be done with 2020 in lots of ways. The global COVID-19 pandemic. It was also a US presidential election year that fostered an objective appreciation for governmental officials who are public servants, but most especially for those who are truly civic leaders. The election reflected our paradoxical US population. More people in history voted for and even more voted against the incumbent. It looks like democracy will win again. Remembrance + Renewal + Resolutions.

Graphic Headlines are courtesy of US Elections 2020 | The Guardian

The 2020 Elections revealed that the same 50/50 divide of the Civil War Era still remains to this day in our nation. What I think is ridiculous, many others think to be reality. Social media became a major distortion field in 2020. So much so that I had to disconnect from some people who I have known for thirty years or more because seeing their posts kept resulting in me thinking less of them. And, seeing someone’s posts shouldn’t do that. I decided to leave them with their own thoughts and musings, as we are all entitled to have and remember the collegial times we shared in our youth. I had a caricature of some people who I didn’t really know at their core and that’s not fair to either of us. Have a great rest of your life old friends. It’s too short at best. Hence why I rarely post about politics . Remembrance + Renewal + Resolutions.


MMXX Renewal

As with every year, there were good things too.This year also marked both of our official retirements, the drawing of our respective social security pensions, and the launching of our family’s jazz music centered nonprofit organization, Burnett Music Foundation. We were able to safely produce three of our programs (ARC Student Jazz Jam Sessions, KC Area Youth Jazz, and Bird Boot Camp) utilizing the protocols used by US Army bands to mitigate coronavirus risk. Remembrance + Renewal + Resolutions.


MMXX Resolutions

We resolve to be thankful for each day and each opportunity to interact with the people we love, to do the work that we love, and to have our health to enjoy each day together. Here’s to Remembrance + Renewal + Resolutions.


We sincerely agree with these
sentiments of our 44th POTUS.
..

COVER PHOTO

Feb. 17, 2009 – Aboard Air Force One, a close-up of the Presidents signature on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which he had just signed in Denver.
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

AUTHORIZED USES: The official White House photograph are made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Jackson The Plunger …

“Jackson The Plunger” is a nickname we took from one of the articles about our maternal grandfather, Edward George Jackson, who was mostly known by his middle name GEORGE since he shared the same first name with his father. Born in February 1903 and died in January of 1945, he didn’t quite reach his 43rd birthday.

1922 PAOLA HIGH SCHOOL YEAR BOOK – THE ORIOLE
1922 PAOLA HIGH SCHOOL YEAR BOOK – THE ORIOLE

FROM OUR FAMILY TREE AT ANCESTRY . COM



Our formal family trees are located within our private account through Ancestry.com. Our family website is not intended to be any type of genealogical record.



It serves primarily as our contemporary blog. We do sometimes include commentary related to our family genealogy here from time to time though. This post is one of those.


HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPH: A candid photo opportunity with our second eldest grandson, OWEN, who is one of GEORGE JACKSON’s 2nd great grandsons.

Our mother Violet Jackson Burnett and other relatives often told me that I “favored” GEORGE JACKSON. As was common of elders from those generations, they didn’t speak about him or anyone else in our ancestry with any specificity. Upon discovering these old yearbook photos at our family tree website, I actually had no idea what he looked like until now.


1922 PAOLA HIGH SCHOOL YEAR BOOK – THE ORIOLE

Edward “GEORGE” Jackson of Paola, Kansas (1903-1945) was my maternal grandfather. He attended and graduated from the same city school system that I graduated from with the PHS Class of 1923. As you can see by the above school yearbook page, GEORGE attended an integrated school system.



GEORGE was the son of EDWARD Jackson, and EDWARD was the son of SOLOMON Jackson – see the names highlighted in green and yellow in the image of the 1880 United States Federal Census for Edward Jackson above.



Further observation of this census document shows the ethnicity or race of both Edward Jackson (my maternal great grandfather) and his father Solomon (my 2nd maternal great grandfather) listed as “Mulatto” a term of which most dictionaries define as a (dated or offensive) noun referring to a person of mixed white and black ancestry, especially a person with one white and one black parent. Interesting.



ALSO FROM OUR FAMILY TREE AT ANCESTRY . COM


That’s just only a glimpse of my maternal Jackson family tree. My paternal Burnett family tree is just as interesting. I discovered as the eldest son of Clifford Burnett (b. 1925), I am also the grandson of Charles Burnett (b. 1846), I am also the great grandson of Peter Burnett (b. 1798), and I am also the 2nd great grandson of Doe Burnett (b. 1750).



Much of the textbook history I was taught in school growing up doesn’t match with the history I have found in the historic records, deeds, and census documents which reveal that most of my ancestors were farmers, property owners and not enslaved in the late 1700s. Discovered other interesting history too. It seems that life is always full of drama – good and otherwise. Go figure, huh? This information doesn’t change who I am as a human being, a man, a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, nephew, or son. However, it does give me a positive connection with the continuum of my heritage in the most objective context possible. My children and grandchildren don’t have to wonder who came before them in this sense. That’s pretty cool…


COVER PHOTO

BURNETT FAMILY TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING DINNER (2012 – LANSING, KS)

“ORIGINALS” QUARTET

FINALLY

Musicians seem to always be “seeking to understand,” not necessarily to be understood. And I think that’s healthy. We’re all at different stages of development and purpose. We’re often with people and yet we are essentially always alone. We come here alone and we will leave alone.

“FINALLY” (Is Never Permanent…) DEMO
Composed and Arranged By Christopher Burnett (BMI)

ALWAYS

I am finishing up the arrangement of a new composition for my “originals” quartet, titled, “ALWAYS” and made a discovery that literally changed the entire work. This discovery was simply a chord that I substituted for the more common harmonic choice I’d originally written. The substitute chord says the same thing but with a lot more room for creative possibilities. It should be more fun for all of us to improvise over the progression too.

MAYBE

I couldn’t be more thankful for the work that I do at this stage of my career. I’m composing and arranging music for three very different ensembles. I’m doing some pretty cool work as an educator and clinician that’s valued by the community. Once a person finds their calling and purpose, the complexities of life remain, but are taken better in context. That’s the validated treasures of living to many decades of age and having quality life experiences.

INFINITY

Terri Anderson Burnett and I have been a family for many decades. She’s actually my “family.” We eventually learned that our spouse is our family and our children are really only loaned to us for a relatively short time. I call it life before and after kids in your home. It’s never the same as when they were growing up as little kids because it isn’t supposed to be. My family has worked very hard this entire time to be at every particular place in our life together we’ve ever been so far and it’s always fluid – never permanent. We raised our children to adulthood. We have grown from both good and not-so-good events. I still love and value her.

“INFINITY” (Is The Reality…) DEMO
Composed and Arranged By Christopher Burnett (BMI)

LATER

You are blessed if your children grow up to be productive members of society and good people. Anything more in the continuum of life is a true bonus. Fragmented families are common for various reasons like simple incompatibility and complex mental illness. But, if you and your spouse are truly best friends you can endure all of these changes and set an example of how it can be done positively. At least that is what we continue to learn. We’re blessed and thankful. We are living in a territory as a couple that nobody else who is still alive on either side of our family has experienced. We have never given up on each other and we never quit on our family. We accept that we cannot control the negative motivations or feelings of others and we also do not let such dysfunctional situations derail the overwhelmingly positive course of our life together. We are blessed and our faith tells us all things work together.

“LATER” (Is Better Than Never…) DEMO
Composed and Arranged By Christopher Burnett (BMI)

YESTERYEARS

Those who also know these things from actually living them over the years can also attest to the fact that it’s a very complex yet very cool place to be in life. But we don’t expect many to understand until they get here. And that’s really not the point anyway. The point is to never give up. All of these realities are compositionally poured into this original music.

Musician is a Symbiotic Duality

Terri Anderson Burnett and I are both musicians.

We’ve also been a family since our early twenties.

We both were also working professional musicians before we met each other in Germany.

When we actually started dating seriously and eventually married, our family plans naturally included serious consideration of the fact that we are musicians as well.

Musicians always are musicians along with anything else they are or do professionally in life.

These two aspects of the musical person are like a symbiotic duality that keeps us in balance as human beings.

I think it’s cool that we both recognize that our art is vital to the relationships that we have individually and collectively built and established within every other part of our lives.

Music is necessary for us. I know that lots of people likely won’t get this.

But that’s cool too. Everyone has something.

Photos: Morning Coffee with T (https://BurnettMusic.biz)

Truth is Truth

‼️💥 Inspiring, huh? Here are more quotes attributed to Marian Wright Edelman: We have found that great people are able to make the connection between great philosophy and tangible action in the real world and the lives of real people every day. We simply aspire to that as a goal too. ~ Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett

“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”

“Children must have at least one person who believes in them. It could be a counselor, a teacher, a preacher, a friend. It could be you. You never know when a little love, a little support will plant a small seed of hope.”

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”

“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.”

“You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.”

“Be real. Try to do what you say, say what you mean, and be what you seem.”

“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”

“Character, self-discipline, determination, attitude and service are the substance of life.”

“It is so important not to let ourselves off the hook or to become apathetic or cynical by telling ourselves that nothing works or makes a difference. Every day, light your small candle…. The inaction and actions of many human beings over a long time contributed to the crises our children face, and it is the action and struggle of many human beings over time that will solve them with God’s help. So every day, light your small candle.”

“Be a good ancestor. Stand for something bigger than yourself. Add value to the Earth during your sojourn.”

“You can achieve much in life if you don’t mind doing the work and giving someone else the credit.”

“It’s time for greatness – not for greed. It’s a time for idealism – not ideology. It is a time not just for compassionate words, but compassionate action.”

“A nation that does not stand for its children does not stand for anything and will not stand tall in the future.”

“The future which we hold in trust for our own children will be shaped by our fairness to other people’s children.”

“Investing in [children] is not a national luxury or a national choice. It’s a national necessity. If the foundation of your house is crumbling, you don’t say you can’t afford to fix it while you’re building astronomically expensive fences to protect it from outside enemies. The issue is not are we going to pay – it’s are we going to pay now, upfront, or are we going to pay a whole lot more later on.”

“Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others.”

“Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.”

“You didn’t have a choice about the parents you inherited, but you do have a choice about the kind of parent you will be.”

“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.”

“No time is ever wasted if you have a book along as a companion.”

“It is utterly exhausting being Black in America – physically, mentally, and emotionally. While many minority groups and women feel similar stress, there is no respite or escape from your badge of color.”

“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

“A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back – but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.”

“Don’t just dream about grandiose acts of doing good. Every day do small ones, that add up over time to positive patterns.”

“Never let us confuse what is legal with what is right. Everything Hitler did in Nazi Germany was legal, but it was not right.”

“Failure is just another way to learn how to do something right.”

“What’s wrong with our children? Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating. Adults telling children to not be violent while marketing and glorifying violence… I believe that adult hypocrisy is the biggest problem children face in America.”

“When Jesus Christ asked little children to come to him, he didn’t say only rich children, or White children, or children with two-parent families, or children who didn’t have a mental or physical handicap. He said, Let all children come unto me.”

“It really takes a community to raise children, no matter how much money one has. Nobody can do it well alone. And it’s the bedrock security of community that we and our children need.”

“Dr. King used to say, ‘I was sitting in the back of the bus, but my mind was always upfront.’ Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. You aim high and you work very hard and now I think it’s clear that you can be anything you want to.”

“We’re spending, on average, three times more for prison than for public-school pupils. That’s the dumbest investment policy. It doesn’t make us safer.”

“You’d better stay determined because that’s how our ancestors got us where we are.”

“If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.”

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

“We are not going to deal with the violence in our communities, our homes, and our nation, until we learn to deal with the basic ethic of how we resolve our disputes and to place an emphasis on peace in the way we relate to one another.”

“This act will leave a moral blot on his presidency”

“There are levels of outrage, and there’s a point at which you can’t be trespassed upon anymore.”

“If we think we have ours and don’t owe any time or money or effort to help those left behind, then we are a part of the problem rather than the solution to the fraying social fabric that threatens all Americans and the very dream that is America.”

“Understand and be confident that each of us can make a difference by caring and acting in small as well as big ways.”

“It is the responsibility of every adult… to make sure that children hear what we have learned from the lessons of life and to hear over and over that we love them and that they are not alone.”

“We do not have a money problem in America. We have a values and priorities problem.”

“You are in charge of your own attitude whatever others do or circumstances you face. The only person you can control is yourself… worry more about your attitude than your aptitude or lineage.”

“The outside world told black kids when I was growing up that we weren’t worth anything. But our parents said it wasn’t so, and our churches and our schoolteachers said it wasn’t so. They believed in us, and we, therefore, believed in ourselves.”

“I was taught that the world had a lot of problems; that I could struggle and change them; that intellectual and material gifts brought the privilege and responsibility of sharing with others less fortunate; and that service is the rent each of us pays for living – the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time or after you have reached your personal goals.”

“I feel very lucky to have grown up having interaction with adults who were making change but who were far from perfect beings. That feeling of not being paralyzed by your incredible inadequacy as a human being, which I feel every day, is a part of the legacy that I’ve gotten from so many of the adult elders.”

“Don’t assume a door is closed; push on it. Don’t assume if it was closed yesterday that it is closed today. Don’t ever stop learning and improving your mind. If you do, you’re going to be left behind.”

“Education is a precondition to survival in America today.”

“You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.”

“There should not be one new dime in tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires as long as millions of children in America are poor, hungry, uneducated and without health coverage.”

“You were born God’s original. Try not to become someone’s copy.”

“Be grateful for good breaks and kind favors but don’t count on them.”

“Why are guns the only unregulated consumer products in America? We regulate toy guns and teddy bears, but we do not regulate a product that kills 4,600 children a year.”

“Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.”

“In every seed of good there is always a piece of bad.”

“Education remains one of the black community’s most enduring values. It is sustained by the belief that freedom and education go hand in hand, that learning and training are essential to economic quality and independence.”

“The legacy I want to leave is a child-care system that says that no kid is going to be left alone or left unsafe.”

“There are so many noises and pulls and competing demands in our lives that many of us never find out who we are. Learn to be quiet enough to hear the sound of the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in other people.”

“Each American must remember and help America remember that the fellowship of human beings is more important than the fellowship of race and class and gender in a democratic society.”

“You really can change the world if you care enough.”

“It is [children] who are God’s presence, promise and hope for mankind.”

“Parents have become so convinced that educators know what is best for their children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts.”

“Service is the rent we pay for living.”

“Whoever said anybody has a right to give up?”

“The civil-rights movement was completely impossible to achieve. But look at what ordinary people were able to do because they were willing to sacrifice their lives to stay with it. They didn’t expect a political process to respond to them. They made the political process respond to them. To say “It’s so bad I won’t bother” is to give up on your children and give up on your future.”

“No one, Eleanor Roosevelt said, can make you feel inferior without your consent. Never give it.”

ABOUT Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman, civil rights activist and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, has dedicated her life to those who cannot always lift themselves up. Edelman obtained a law degree at Yale and worked in Mississippi, becoming the first Black woman to be admitted to that state’s bar.

As a leader with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Edelman helped coordinate the Poor People’s Campaign after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. She founded the Children’s Defense Fund in the 1970s, to apply pressure on the federal government to help poor children and to coordinate nationwide activities to help children.

Considered the nation’s most powerful children’s lobby, CDF secured the 1990 Act for Better Child Care, bringing more than $3 billion into daycare facilities and other programs. Many consider this law the first federal government acknowledgment that children matter.

With millions of American children living in poverty, Edelman continues her advocacy, focusing on expanding Head Start, health care and support for homeless children. In l993 Edelman published her book, The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Biography courtesy of The National Women’s Hall of Fame.

HISTORIC OCCASION: Great news to share!

‼️🎵🎶 https://ArtistsRecordingCollective.biz

Terri Anderson Burnett (far left) and Christopher Burnett (far right) are shown here in a selfie photo with two archivists from the State of Kansas after their recent meeting.

We found out that any copyrighted material remains the property of the owner and thus the ARC catalogue is safe.

And, the ARC label’s music and the story will inherently become a permanently documented and tangible part of the history of the state and country.

The Artists Recording Collective + ARC Recording Label was cofounded in 2007 by Erica Lindsay, Sumi Tonooka, and Christopher Burnett.

To be more clear the historical society will keep the entire ARC catalogue alive indefinitely as an historic collection in the state archives.

All ARC artists still retain the ownership of their own work. It’s better than most record label situations that inherently treat recordings like a commercial product. ARC has no back catalogue.

Each ARC album is more of a career documentation artifact by each artist rather than a simple retail consumer product such as a coffeemaker or something like an individual candy bar.

Visit our website to learn more information about the music and our business model.

Family History: Archive Preservation

BurnettFamilyUS.org 🏛 We started digitizing our VHS movies and film photography slides in 2007 through Walmart. These clips are from a DVD that was the result.
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However, since DVD is a dead technology we are going to send all of these to iMemories (thanks Dr. Mary Jane Burnett) and have purely digital files created. Videos and photos will then be archived in the cloud and at our Ancestry portal for historical reference and posterity.
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These clips are from a 1992 trip to Washington DC our family took together. I had just returned to the USA 🇺🇸 after my assignment with the NATO Band in Italy 🇮🇹 and was on the Staff and Faculty of the Armed Forces School of Music. Terri Anderson Burnett was a tenured elementary school teacher.
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I was getting near the end of my active duty military career. So to keep from uprooting our family again I did both of these assignments by myself. T, our children (12 and 10 years old respectively) and my mother stayed at our home we’d built in Missouri.
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They did a great job holding down the fort. I am still so proud of them to this day. Military families have no choice but to be a team. And, objectively speaking, we were a great team during those years.
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Mom Burnett was excited about going to Washington DC. While sitting on the steps leading into the Lincoln Memorial she stated: “I never thought I would ever visit here in my lifetime!” But she did. That’s cool 😎 ❤️🇺🇸

Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 at Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs based in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. 

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