Wednesday, June 3, 2015
As I stood there at my table, I started looking at the items displayed - postcards, photographs, DNA test results, a ribbon from a Civil War unit reunion, and others. I started thinking about the people these items represented and reminded me of. I realized that, compared to all the items my ancestors owned, possessed, or directly or indirectly created in their lifetimes, most of what I have amounts to a only few scraps. It's like comparing their life to a shirt that gets put through a food processor, and the shreds get scattered to the winds, and here I am spending my life chasing down each thread I can find and trying to stitch that shirt back together. In many cases, I don't know what the pattern is, where the threads are, or what the shirt is going to look like when I'm done. And given how many ancestors I have, plus their children and other connections, I feel like I'm trying to recreate a whole department store's worth of shirts. Daunting doesn't begin to describe it. So why do I do it?
Family really is the most important thing we have. Each thread I find, each scrap I collect, reminds me of that. So I will never stop looking for those treasured scraps and threads, and hope that one day someone (or someones!) in my family will continue the search and the collecting.