January 17, 2009

Consistency and History

Consistency first. It is something I seem to lack, though...not for lack of trying. In the land of blog I am woefully inconsistent and just want you all to know, I know. My intentions of posting daily through the latter part of December didn't go too far afield. However, like many other folks, once the new year sets in and we return to normal work schedules, work demands tend to increase. And without delving too far into health discussions suffice it to say, I have significant energy limits. Not something I enjoy but I'm very grateful to be able to balance limitations, demands and interests without a clouded spirit. However, when my reserves diminish my posting does as well; once recharged I do better. All this is to say, I apologize if you come to visit and I haven't. Like the Governor of CA said, "I'll be back". 

History second. I think I briefly touched on my interest in family history once before. It is something I've been working on and off with for twenty plus years now. In that time the world (literally) of historical information has become accessible in ways not imagined when a few of my ancestors began making attempts to gather up the fragile bits and pieces of our past. There are so many parts of the research that excite me and many of those were completely unexpected. Special friendships with fellow/fellow-ess researchers around the country have formed. (None more dear than that of my friend Pam in TX.) Conversations with complete strangers have ended with the realization that we are related. Long dormant documents with amazing and pertinent family details surface. And my favorite of all the research aspects are the stories, big and little, that survive through their telling and retelling. 

Unrealistic or not, I love to know about the spirits of those who came before. Tell me last what they did for a living, tell me first who they held dear and why. For me, finding some connection to a nobleman can't come close to my love of unearthing the written down story of a simple farmer, returned from the Revolution. It's the stories I love. Some come from piecing together migrations. Some from cemeteries. Others from backtracking tales twisted by time. All the stories, details, photos and people these elements represent, in one way or another, inform who I am. And what I am is grateful. Grateful to be here, grateful for their lives and grateful for those fragile bits of themselves they left behind. In doing so they are not forgotten.

And who you might be asking is this fellow? He was my great grandfather Roberts. My maternal grandmother used to tell me stories about her dear and kind father, mother and brothers. All were left behind in Indiana and Missouri when she, her husband and children moved on to California in the early 1920's. One of the sweet stories I remember was about granddad Roberts rescuing two tiny fawns after their mother had been caught in the sights of a neighbors rifle. Far too young to survive on their own, he cared for them until they could be released. Whether that was or wasn't a good idea from where we sit now doesn't matter. He simply couldn't let them die.

So imagine my surprise, forty years after her death, to find these photos reflecting grandma's story, grandfather Roberts tender heart and the faces of his dear and well loved fawns. Though in this case the story within me still carried the voice of my grandmother and an imagined idea of what was, these fragments brought the past to life. I believe the more we understand the past, as it relates to family and outside of it, the better able we are to translate that into good or better decision making today and in the future. Plus, I just like a good story.

*These photos have been repaired and enhanced as they had a great deal of damage, so are obviously not exact replicas of the originals.


swamericana said...

What discovery of history. You write such a beautiful story. Such sensitivity of your grandfather has been passed on down to you. Marvelous piece. --Jack

Sea Mist and Sunsets said...

Thanks so much Jack. He is one of the pack I lament not knowing. In the old photos his demeanor appears kind, even when conditions weren't. Chris

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