used to tell the best stories about his family’s history.
Most of his stories came from the extensive work my Great Grandfather did when he traced his family tree- that was no small thing because this was way before we had the internet and his family history was massively extensive.
I was surprised when I signed up for one of those family tree sites and started to build my own tree to discover how much my Great Grandfather had gotten right without the benefit of technology to aid him.
So my Dad could colorfully connect all of these links to our past and what great links they were!
One of my Great Great Uncles actually moved to Australia with his wife and children and was a Minister. He went back to England and his grave actually turned up on a website. It turns out that my Great Uncle was a successful attorney before he was a Minister and his change in vocation had something to do with what he experienced in War.
The stories were endless- the names were even interesting- I had Aunts in the 18oo’s name Patience and Experience. Their father’s name was- wait for it- Lancelot.
Part of our family fought in the American Revolution and others stayed in England and later moved to Canada. There were stories about Knights and mysterious deaths and drownings. Some of them performed in Vaudville acts and were Magicians. There were even stories about being witnesses to exorcisms and wives who turned out to not be who they said they were and bodies buried in a basement of a home one of my relatives bought.
They kept the house despite the fact it had an unsavory past and years and years later when I came along when I was little I used to beg like a thing possessed to go down into the ‘basement graveyard’ to look around for- I don’t know. More bodies I guess. I was probably 5 or 6 at the time.
The basement floor was hard packed earth and the lightbulb would make a sizzle sound just before it went out, so I had to hit the steps and race upstairs before I was plunged into darkness.
I was enchanted by these stories and used to ask to hear them over and over again and with each story I could feel the links to the past snap together and with that the sense I knew were I came from and where I could go.
One day I said that I wanted to write, just like one of my distant reletives did. It didn’t seem like a reach. My entire family are natural born story tellers.
And my Dad- who was never really crazy about me for his own reasons- one being that I was sort of a freaky thing who looked for corpses in the dark- looked at me and said- ” Well, you know what they say. The light bulb burns brightest before it burns out.”
To this day I can hear those links snap one by one and heard them hit the ground like stones.