Monday, May 16, 2011

Who's Swinging from Your Tree Limbs?

I haven't blogged in a few weeks. I wish I could say I've been tip-toeing through the tulips but I haven't. I've been meandering through graveyards. Online graveyards.

Many years ago, way before we could do searches online, I struggled to learn who was perched in my family tree. I battled relatives who wanted me to mind my own business and others who laughed at me for wanting to know where that large McGinty nose came from, or those squinty, sleepy Roach eyes. Finally, the war of the relatives (and a divorce) had me packing my paperwork away for another time. And then I passed it on to family members who have since died. The paperwork has made its way back to me.

So now it's time to finish the story--especially considering my own age. How hard can it be these days with ancestry.com and findagrave.com. Not as difficult as it was 40 years ago. I've found graves, marriage licenses, mugshots of relatives, and much more. And because my mother's long-term memory is much stronger/clearer than her short term memory, I'm learning some juicy stuff. Talk about addictive!

I've spent hours searching findagrave.com. I located old friends who have passed away and I didn't even know it. When did those friendships disappear from my life? In my mind, I thought about them, remembered fun times with them. Each time they popped into my memory it was as if we'd just been together. One, a writer and teacher, and one of my best friends for a number of years, was instrumental in my own progress as a writer. We went to a lot of conferences together; critiqued each other, read each other's books, but we'd lost touch. She retired, quit writing and turned to other things. When I came across her obit, I sat and cried ... for myself, I guess. Just because I didn't know.

On ancestry.com I located a couple of dead husbands. Yeah, unfortunately, they were mine.

Searching your family tree can sure make you stop and think about relationships, the value you place on family and friends. It can be darned depressing too, when you count up how many younger family members have passed on long before they should have.

If there's someone you need or want to talk with, share a laugh with, or a memory, or even interview--do it now. Don't wait. Time is passing at breakneck speed. Pick up the phone now. Call them. Write that letter. Don't wait.

2 comments:

Carole said...

Great post. I so agree that now is the time to make contact with old friends and relatives. Plus those sites can provide interesting info.

Sylvia Ney said...

Great post and so true!