Wordless Wednesday

A Field of Blue and Grey

My Great Grandfather, Died 1910 at

The Old Soldiers Home

Marshalltown, Iowa

Okay, not quite Wordless. I wanted to do this on Memorial Day, but said, "Nah, that's too schmaltzy." But he's been on my mind ever since. For many years he (and his grave) were lost to us. A lot of family information has died over the years. Not anything Grannie and I want to see continue. So we've been trying to piece the family tree back together. In doing so, we found him. And last summer Zach and I went to Iowa and found his grave. We were the first to visit that grave in 95 years. Every year, from now on, me and one of my sons will visit his grave. And I will repeat to my son (whichever one it is) what I know of his story. So that when they have sons (or daughters) they too can visit the grave and impart to their younguns a sense of how and why they got here, and who the people were that are responsible for them being here.

I am teaching my boys all of the family names. All the different lines of people, that we know of, that led to them. Grannie has a fairly voluminous family tree stored in her laptop - the family gold mine. For it is full of information and stories and names and places and dates. All of which will help my children, and my children's children, and THEIR children, feel connected. Memories are some of the most precious things we own. And family memories can be the glue that holds a family together. Forever.


Myst_72 said...

I agree.

My younger son Lachlan spends our visits to Grandparents in Hobart talking with his Great Pop about the war - he summed it up so well when he said "When Poppy is gone there will be no-one to tell the stories - so I'm going to listen so I can tell the stories for him". Next time we go he's going to take my laptop and either record or type some of the stories out - great idea I thought - Pop would love this.


Audubon Ron said...

Wow. I have a grandmoter still alive. She's 104.

frogpondsrock said...

I need to go and see my Grandmother. Thankyou Lou for reminding me xx

Emily said...

This is fantabulous! I wish that I had gotten the WWII stories from Grampa, but I did not. :(

Have you visited the Ellis Island site? http://ellisisland.org

Queen Goob said...

Your writting down everything and not just passing it on via word of mouth, right? Our Flanigan family history was not only written down but published as well. I'm very proud of that.

And nice name you blessed your son with.....☺

Huckdoll said...

Family trees are amazing. Last summer, a few women in my family compiled a massive family tree sort of like your Grannie did (btw - Grannie has a laptop? That rules!)

So now we've each got a bound copy of the family tree to pass onto our kids for generations. They deserve it!

Renee Daniels said...

That's awesome

witchypoo said...

My father is a geneology nut. He showed me where I was entered as "witch" for occupation, and I refused to have anything to do with it after that.

Sandy C. said...

So beautifully said Lou. Family memories are truly priceless. My husbands grandmother is very much into geneology, and has traced that side of the family back many years. However, on my side, it all ends with my grandmothers who are both still alive (90 and 95). Sadly, once they came to the US, they lost touch with their families back home. One of my grandmothers had 9 sisters.

Hyphen Mama said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!
I feel like my family history is slowly disappearing as my older family has passed. Having been young when they have passed, I don't KNOW the stories. I don't know the history.

I remember being little and hearing my grandparents tell the stories of old. The stories of my grandfather in WWII. My parents tell stories of this or that.

I no longer remember those stories. My dad is hand-writing everything he remembers and my mom has located a history book of the Czech side of the family.

I hope that in 25 years my kids will be able to know their history. Because it is SO important.

Great post!!

Anonymous said...

Memorial Day would have been ok. But in this case, better late than never. Thanks for sharing.

warriorwoman said...

That was good to read.
I'm not big on family myself, but I do have one.
I don't know what I'll do when I die, don't know what I'll leave behind. If I'm smart, a massive pile of debt. Let em sort that out.
I put more emphasis on what we take with us when we kick the bucket. Such as the lessons we learned.
However, while we're here, family history takes on great significance. People need to know who they are, need a starting point.
I feel like I'm floundering in a sea of nothingness when it comes to family history.
That's why your story was good to read, thanks.

moneythoughts said...

Good story Lou. Always enjoy reading history, especially family history. For your info, schmaltz is chicken fat. Your story was no where nears chicken fat. When I was little, I loved to hear my father tell me about his family's journey to American in the early 1920's. He and his parents, brother and sister lived through WW I, the two revolutions in Russia, and the Civil War before they got out. My mother's father came to America in 1906. All of my great grand parents are buried somewhere in Europe. Being able to stay in the same country for over 100 years is a real blessing. Being chased around Europe is no way to live. Your story is worth telling any day of the year. Next year on Memorial Day, you should post it again.

Lady Language said...

We would be lost without history and the connection to family, and knowing the hardships endured so that we may enjoy our world today.

I often grumbled as a child every time my Father took us to a great-great-great Grandparent's grave or made us stop along the roadside and read those sturdy brown history plaques (which included approx. 40 stops on our 3 week road trip out West when I was 16 years old). Seriously. I never knew I had ancestors buried in New Mexico...

I now do the same thing with my children. Never let the stories die.

Rebecca said...

That's wonderful, Lou. And I love the photo!

Alice said...

The best Christmas present I ever received was a typed up autobiography from my Dad detailing his life growing up in Pittsburgh, Vietnam, etc. It was amazing all the stuff I did NOT know about him. I would urge you to do the same for your children after reading this post!

redchair said...

Love this post. Amazing. One thing you might want to consider also, is printing out all your blog posts. Just place them in a binder as you go. (That's what I'm doing with mine) Can you fathom what a precious keepsake that will be for your family and generation to come?

A cousin sent me a letter my father had written him- when my Dad was only 20 years old. The letter is one of our most valuable family keepsakes.