|Spring is coming by many a sign...|
March 20, 2017
And of course, one of the best is the arrival of the photographs of our Little Beans flying kites with their father and mom.
Again, another ritual from our side of the family.*heehee* Our sons have many memories of each March, the days and days of flying kites. One famous year, we had to tie one of the kites to our mailbox, it was so high and so far up in the skies! People came from all over our neighbourhood, then on the far far outskirts of North Austin on the way to Round Rock to see where that kite was at! Last night, Himself and I were laughing about how long it took us, in long shifts, to reel that kite in. For ages, that kite was displayed on the bedroom the boys shared (by choice)up until our elder son went to Georgetown University. He once made jokes that he flew that amazing kite (from a place in Boulder, Colorado) in DC 'cause "the chicks dig it!" *heehee* Many people asked how did we get it that high and really, it just meant having lots of string on hand and patiently, carefully adding more and more string as that beautiful kite soared higher and higher where the hawks swooped close to see too.
So, again, to see the girls and their kites and of course, BabyBoyI's, sheer delight in those kites, the big wide grins and fierce concentration and how HIGH they got those kites to fly! Funny, neither one of our daughters-in-laws flew kites and neither did their brothers or father.
Kites and Easter are such a huge event in my family so o f course, when we married, I gave Himself the perfect excuse to indulge freely in his love for kites and flying them. Even before the boys were born! He still teases me at times, the absolute joy I had in Easter, my long story "instructing' him all about Ostara and the important year 1752 and where March got its name and spring chickens! Or when gardens first begin producing and March being the month of Poor Man's Fertiliser...snow. Of course, the stories of how once upon time, early spring was the time when young virgins went out into the fields at night and the big bonfires and what Easter eggs really mean. Of course, my deep unease with the whole dying and cross is still strong but we attended church services with family and indulged in new clothes. However, the grim seriousness of St. Louis Catholic Church's Easter Mass gave me nightmares and after a few years, I simply could not attend anymore and I didn't want the boys to have those sort of memories of Easter. Life coming out of what appears to be death, sure, but torture and betrayal and gloomy organ music? No thank you!
Now, we had a very low-keyed weekend, which meant I tried hard to appear to be reading in the new gorgeous chair BostonGirl gave me for Christmas in its new reading nook as Himself fell asleep over his book, stretched out on the sofa.
After seeing that gentleman that looked so much like my great-grandfather and grandfather, I did some quick calls and flipped through old records of family deaths and marriages.
My aunt had given me a hand-written list of all my great-grandfather's siblings, births, marriages, death, burial places and in the sweet soft light pouring through our windows, I carefully went through page after page and viola...
Of course, my absolute delight in all those names distracted me terribly.
AND:THE SIZE OF THE FAMILIES!
From 1870 to 1897! I have always known this of course but it still is humbling to see it all down and in print.
Oh, the names!
EDGAR ALAN POE
Mrytle Ray (identical girl twins!)
Twelve children.All lived well into adulthood.
Then, my great-great-grandfather. Or my great-great-great-great grandfather's family!
From 1872 to 1895.
And Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother Eliza:From 1825 to 1845
Elizabeth Sarah Anne
And one of my huge favourites, married twice, Born in 1797 when this was all still Virginia.
My Great-great-great grandparents: Richard Paschal and Lutisha Wells, born 1854
How many of them went through and survived the Civil War and worse, Reconstruction and as I go back, so many wars.
Anyway, more phone calls and I finally found out that one of the major Edgar Allan Poes acutally died in Oldham County at a fairly advanced old age and his son, Virgil, lived here all his life until retirement to Shelbyville so yes, it's very possible that the gentleman I saw could have been good ol' Virgil's' son. If I figured it out correctly, this Edgar Allan Poe was my great-great grandfather's brother. I am going to drive my aunt crazy trying to figure it all out, just what sort of cousins his children would be.
Now the totally unexpected and very sad part? In researching my mother's family, tracking down a great-great-grandfather whose grave I have seen many times and taken pictures of, well, it's traditional in that family to name one son after him. For generations. My mother's family is from another part of the Bluegrass than my father's family but as the highways were built, it's not far at all.
So...up comes my ancestor's proud name.
Attached to a cousin that is currently in prison.
I haven't seen him since he was a sweet, chubby adorable toddler. He's now forty-six. I was so stunned I dropped my laptop and books and notebooks and against my better instincts, tracked down his crimes, mugshots and where he is now. Down in Burgin, in a prison that didn't even exist until 1980s, I didn't even know was there.
My mother's family has not exactly done well! I always thought some of my cousins were joking when they said I was the "star" of the family, especially since one cousin is a banker and very active in community stuff in a tiny town.
In my heart, I have always been so glad my father's family was the primary source of everything in my life.
What I don't understand, is why my mother's family, with all their advantages and opportunities, why oh why had the family completely fallen apart and will soon be in obscurity, dead or in as I'm learning of many of the "younger" cousins, in prison?!
My aunt, as many people where I am from, feels strongly it was the families moving to Louisville. Not Lexington.
Amongst other things, of course. However, I remember as a child wondering what my grandmother, my mother's mother was DOING IN THIS FAMILY?
Not that DaddyC. was so terrible, he certainly knew how to make money.
Only they were so very different in everything. My grandmother was so genteel, pretty, smart, polished, kind, generous, loving, so much fun, and her accent and way of speaking was so obviously the Bluegrass' "Good People."
That cannot explain it all of course or her death and how the family simply imploded in the years after?
This part makes me uneasy. All my maternal uncles married, well, more than once and each wive was a bit rougher than the last. This puzzled me, even as a child. They all seemed to be drawn to pretty rough girls and women, some barely up from the deepest direst poverty and hard scrabble lives.
Pretty, certainly. But, rough. As my grandfather would say too, "Heavy-handed."
Even at this moment, my recently departed uncle's home is tangled up because at his vast age of almost eighty, he had some "fifty-something" hussy living there with him and she is flat-out refusing to move. My cousins told me they have no idea where Uncle R. found her, perhaps at Myrtle Beach a few years ago?
The last time we drove by where my mother's main farm was, I cried and cried all the way back home. There is no trace of our great-great-great grandparent's home, the land is all cut-up and subdivided, a road runs through it, there are trailers everywhere, all the trees are gone for small, make-shift cattle grazing and the erosion is horrible.
I wish I could take down the road signs with the family name on it and I'm not even a C., just half.
And as for this generation's children? I could just really cry an ocean.
With my beloved AuntB. dying so recently,thinking of all she did for me and us all our lives, the sort of person she was and everything, my head just goes dizzy thinking.
Most of my life, I have given thanks to the stars above for my father's family and have been fiercely proud that I am one. I still use my maiden name as part of my name and I wish there was some way to pay them all back for the love, the gifts, the example to follow, the attention, the care they lavished upon us.
I hate to do this but looking at my father's siblings' children and their children and my mother's family, I am just stunned.
My children may never really know this, but it was everything I learned and was taught and shown from my father's family that helped them go on to have any chance at all. Not my father.
That is what hit me so hard.
As the years went on after we moved to Texas, it was as if my father became exactly the same almost, as my mother's brothers.
Oh, not the divorces or changing jobs or super wasting money. My father is very religious in a shallow way, very active in a super conservative church and GOP politics, everything about making money. He has a huge expensive house and flashy new cars and expensive clothes and shoes and the works. He is "devoted" to my mother.
Yet, he followed my uncles' examples in many ways. Especially when it came to doing anything for his daughters. It was the rules for some reason with my mother's brothers, everything went to the sons. Girls were pretty much on their own.
It's making my head ache and really, many families haven't weathered the past decades too well at all.
Still I cannot help but think, soon my mother's family will slip down so far there is not any way to save or pull them back up.