Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

If you don't believe in ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion. ~Ashleigh Brilliant

I come from a very close knit family. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and sister were always within a short drive. Many holidays were spent with large groups of extended family from summer picnics to Christmas Eve dinners. I have passed this on to my own children and attempt to keep the family tight for them

However, after losing my maternal grandmother while in her forties, very near the age I am now. And also the loss of my paternal Grandfather who committed suicide in his fifties and before I entered this world, leaves empty emotions and questions about those relatives I barely knew.

As I get older and my children are turning into adults themselves, I've become more curious about the past I know little about. I am the youngest child of two and don't remember a lot of the things my sister is old enough to remember. Both of my parents have wonderful memories in grand detail.

It is rare that we are out with my mother, sometimes in cities far from home when my mother doesn't see someone she knows. Is it because she knows a lot of people? Perhaps, she is a very sweet socialite. Or is it that she just remembers better? When our memories do not grasp the past as well as we would like, do we walk right past those we know from our past not realizing? I believe there is some truth to that. My mother seems to be in tune with those from her past.

I find myself asking my parents a lot more about the past. I find myself more curious about where I came from. I lost my paternal grandmother when I was still young. Pregnant with my second child at her funeral I was just 20. Busy with my life as a new bride, husband overseas serving in Desert Storm. I had plenty going on and way too young to care or take the time to ask about my grandmothers youth. And now I wish I had.

My grandparents and my parents are luckily slight hoarders. They don't like to throw away memories. And I love them for it. Between my mothers mothers hope chest full of memories, my dads moms hope chest and so many other boxes filled with pictures and letters encapsulating the past. I have much to learn.

A few years ago my parents moved from the house of my youth. We cleared, packed, sorted, and moved 20+ years worth of stuff. In the back recesses of their basement were boxes from my grandmothers house. Old memories perhaps too packed with emotion to be sorted at the time of her death.

In one of the boxes, hidden buried in some old dance cards, photographs and report cards were two small leather bound treasures. One a tiny ring binder no larger than a wallet, my grandfathers journal. The other a small leather diary complete with locking clasp. My grandmothers journal.

I have read them once before, just after my parents move. Each ends with a proposal and a marriage. The coming together of my own paternal grandparents. A glimpse into their dating and falling in love.

On our last trip south to drop off my youngest at school, I picked up the journals once again from my dad. I am reading them again. I am recording them into digital format so that I may share with other family more easily. I also found some old letters. A small glimpse into my own fathers youth.

I am more and more curious. I hope to get a lot of information in the near future. While it is still available.
I live in a Genealogically rich state. There is access to research already completed for me. But there is more to family than dates of birth or death. There is more to my heritage than who we came from but who those people WERE that we came from.
I hope I can answer some questions and discover more about those who came before me.
I am excited to live a little in the past, learn from it and pass it on to my own children.

7 comments:

  1. It's understandable - I suppose - that when we're young we seem to have little interest in family genealogy. Perhaps because we are unsentimental or preoccupied with separating ourselves from our parents?

    Whatever the reason, as we get older, where we come from seems so important. That connection - as we wonder about our place in family "history" and also as we reflect on our kids, who they resemble, what lives they may lead.

    Like you, I found interesting things when going through my parents house some years back. Treasures, really - many from my mother's childhood and even before that - letters and pictures from my grandparents' heyday in the 20s and 30s.

    Ghosts, yes, but perhaps of the best sort. Anchors to the past and the future.

    Lovely post.

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  2. Thanks BLW- I think that maybe the interest grows as we do because in our youth, we may assume they will be with us forever. The older we get the more we realize that nothing is forever. Yes, the best ghosts.

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  3. how fun.. My grandma is 86 and when she asked me what I wanted for my birthday I said notebook with family history and your recipes. I got both and more to come.

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  4. Polwig- Some of the best gifts you can receive.
    wish I would have had the chance. Or thought of it when I did.

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  5. Thank you for coming by my site, otherwise I may never have found you. I love this post. My parents were very private and I know some of my father's family and only the part of my mother's that I actually can remember. I didn't even know how my parents met until after my mom was killed. My dad opened up more then. I also have six adopted children and I'm sure one day they will get the wondering bug if they haven't already. That scares me some. I know I'm their mom, I raised them, but I'm still afraid.
    I love your writing style, it's so personable. I can't wait to read more.

    Diva

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  6. Thank you Diva. I found your site through BLW's and I will return. I would love if you stopped by more. You may gain another perspective regarding your adopted children if you read through some of my older posts. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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