Saturday, September 18, 2010

Skeletons In The Closet

Do you remember the children's song about the bones in your body being connected?  "The hand bone's connected to the wrist bone, the wrist bone's connected to the arm bone..." and on it goes about "Dem Bones".  That's pretty much describes my hobbies.

It formally started when I was attending college.  I suppose the fact that I was in my 40's was one reason why this caught on with me.  We had to do a paper about our heritage.  So I pulled out the information my mother assembled years earlier (when I didn't care a wit about it) and wrote an essay about my parents and grandparents.  I think from that point on, I was hooked.  I became known in the family as the one who knew how everyone was connected.  Next thing I knew, I found myself looking for genealogy software.  I had to get this documented!!

When my mother passed, I was the one that got a lot of the "stuff".  My Dad's paystubs going back to 1957 when his take home pay each week averaged $140 and that had to feed seven people.  Old bank books and insurance payment books from my grandparents.  My great-uncle's eyeglasses and prayerbooks.   Hundreds of pictures of people, to whom I couldn't even guess on how I am related.  As I explore these documents, touching a bank book of a man who died 2 months after I was born, I tell myself, "I have to get this documented!!".  And so, my scrapbooking passion is fueled. 

Cardmaking?  That's an offshoot of scrapbooking...when you don't have time enough to complete a scrapbook page, finishing a card can give you that creative "relief" that you sometimes need when you feel like you're going to burst if you don't "DO" something.

My photography hobby?  Easy...I want to be sure that my life and our family history is documented.  I want to be sure that when my grandkids pick up pictures, it tells who is in the picture and what the story is behind that picture.  I want to be sure that the generations that I won't meet will know their past.  The best way is in pictures (with journaling). 

As for the title of this blog post, let me get to that little bit of "dirt".  In November 2003, a month after my dad's sister passed (she was the last of that generation), I received a call from a woman who had spoken with my brother and was advised to call me because "Peggy knows how everyone is connected in the family."   This woman proceeded to tell me that she was my cousin, who had been given up for adoption when another of my dad's sister's was 18 years old.  She had done her research and was willing to share it with me.  Obviously, I was skeptical.  There's no way this could be, I thought.  Nothing I'd seen up til then indicated anything like this happened.  I kept thinking about how it was only a month after the one woman who could possibly substantiate any of this was gone.  Coincidence??  A con??  

I took her number, told her I'd contact her "brother" and then we'd see where it went from there.  Calls were made, faxes were sent.  This was for real!!  When she walked into a party I was having in December, our jaws dropped.  She was the spitting image of my grandmother in this picture. 

There was no denying she was related.  Slowly, the other cousins added puzzle pieces that made this whole thing come together.

Since then, I've found other papers that spark more questions about all sorts of things in the family.  I may not have the answers, but the journey and the questions that surface are a lot of fun to contemplate!!

So, any FUN skeletons in YOUR closet??

No comments: