New Posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- er generally

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Family connections and a bit more


In January I wrote about the loss of my cousin and how it had impacted me to not put off things especially where it involves loved ones. Friday my cousin, her brother, came out to the farm to give me old family photographs that she had saved and which he now wanted me to have. You can see the stacks on the table to my left in the above photo.

He and I caught up on many years of family news. It made me so happy to hear him talk about the kind of woman his sister had been. There were so many caring things about her that I didn't know but now feel a glow at knowing those stories. What a good woman she was and to so many people. What a special day Friday was for me.

But to say Friday was special is to not begin to say what it meant to me. It was good to reconnect with my cousin, five years my junior, after so many years, and it had been a lot of years. Looking at the old photos and family information, as we went through them telling each other the stories we remembered, was wonderful.

We both had come late to an interest in our family's genealogy. I began researching it a few years ago long after so many of the old ones had gone on, and it was more difficult to find the information. I wish I had asked more questions when they were still around, but there it is.


Opening up these envelopes was the first time I had seen a photo of my grandparents' wedding day. You know how it is-- boys get the tools and guns; girls get the photos and household goods. I have the riding crop, a .38 (that supposedly my grandfather carried when he was running away from a posse with no clue why that might've been), some of the tools; but Friday was the first time I had seen a photo of my father's mother when she was 16 years old. That's how old she was when she became engaged to my grandfather. The photo below is their engagement picture.


In August 1903, they were married in Hills City, South Dakota. From everything I know, they had a happy marriage for nearly 50 years. My mother talked about the funeral for my granddad (I was very young and not there), and how my grandmother threw herself across the casket crying out his name (in my experience, she wasn't the demonstrative type). She really loved that man and you can't ask for much more than that from a long marriage, can you?

Today was like a gift that will go on giving as I have now a box full of photos and information on relatives, most of whom I have only heard their names. Friday was a very good day for me.

And then...

As soon as I wrote this blog about my magnificent day, of course, the fates stepped in. I heard horns honking outside, people yelling-- cows are out on the road. There has to be a leveling force in the Universe, doesn't there? A sense of humor maybe?

I walked down the road, grumbling all the way, watched the bull and cows' chagrined expressions, and eventually convinced them to go down the bank and back across the creek to their home where they stayed until Farm Boss returned from town to fix the fences. Fences at this time of the year are iffy at best with cattle ready to test them for that green grass on the other side. I can relate...

11 comments:

Paul said...

Lovely pics Rain and you look beautiful as usual !

Darlene said...

How wonderful to receive family portraits. I have a very few and remember so many others. I will never know what happened to them but assume my sisters ended up with some.

Genealogy becomes fascinating once you get involved in it. It's always nice to know your roots. Sometimes you get a peek at a story and your imagination fills in the blanks.

Your grandmother was lovely and her husband handsome. You come from attractive people. Although you do not look like them, you are beautiful and you must have had other attractive ancestors as well.

mandt said...

Wonderful, endearing reflections!

Climbing Joshua's Tree said...

Such a great post...this is the type of experience I would hope many others could experience! I would love to hear more about your family stories!
Joshua Burkhow
Climbing Joshua's Tree

Kay Dennison said...

What a wonderful meeting!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

I am soooo happy for you, Rain. It's terrific that your cousin was/is so thoughtful. I've tried to share photos with my own cousins who seem equally excited to receive them. You have re-inforced the need for me to continue to do so.
Thanks!
Cop Car

Dick said...

I got interested in family history (genealogy) in the early 1980s when I was playing with my first computer data base. I needed some data to work with and remembered my Mom had been gathering family history, so started with her work. It does grow on you and I've gone farther with what she started.

You are so right in that while many do get interested in learning more about where we came from, for too many it comes after most of those we could have talked with about it in the past are gone, so we have to search archives, etc. for the information. I've always felt it was kind of like a detective game, but with personal data. And it is so suited to using a computer to assist.

Annotated Margins said...

Congratulations.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How truly WONDERFUL, Rain! To re-connect with your cousin and even more than that, to have these very very precious pictures of your Heritage....I LOVE old pictures and the stories that go with them---not just mine---I mean everybody's old pictures. It gives one such a senes of continuity and family....
I am thrilled for you, my dear---Cows and all....(lol)

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

I can certainly see why that was such a special day for you! I just love all the photos you shared and it was nice to see you with your cousin.

Are you going to frame some, scan them, make some digital art with some of them. Ah, engaged at 16--and the marriage worked all those years. Now that's what my "dream" of long marriages always was. I'm a little jaded now.