I've been searching for information, any information about my mother's family, of whom I'd never met a grandparent, an aunt or uncle or a cousin, for a really long time, as in decades. Somehow that slipped by osmosis into my daughter Sarah. Different times, she in the age of information harvesting that, though I consider myself good at gathering, she excels.
|My maternal grandfather, Robert Farquhar Holden 1913 at Harvard|
That woman turned out to be my first cousin, Liz. After a slightly hesitant start on both sides, we confirmed our connections and now she is my cousin, really and truly, with whom I exchange lengthy emails, filled with stories: stories that connect us, stories with amazing coincidences in our lives (ex. - she and her husband lived on St. Croix and St. Thomas with an overlap of one year of me living there, before moving to Culebra - meaning she knows exactly where Culebra is!). Each time an email alights in my inbox with her name on it, it is like opening another chapter of the very best book...
When I told my brother about it, he summed it up pretty well. "This reminds me of that ancestry.com commercial where this lilting voice says 'I followed a little leaf!'. Sarah followed a leaf and the whole damn tree fell down!' He is as excited as I and it is a Christmas morning excitement, finding what you asked for and then finding more that you hadn't even thought to imagine asking for.
Living on Culebra, where family is such a huge part, with 70 year olds caring for their closing in on century old parents, where a party is barely a party unless everyone from the grandfather to the newest baby is close at hand, where family history isn't just a dusty book of photos but a daily, living entity, full of demands and obligations and rewards with laughter and tears and the simply mundane and the high joys of everyday-ness.
There has always been a little feeling of me leaning against a door that is full of wondering, a door that refuses to stay closed. Now that door has swung open wide, with so much tumbling out it is almost cartoonish, sitting dazed and smiling in the aftermath, picking up one jewel after another.
I've found out that England and Wales and Spain run through my blood. Yes, Spain, the Garcia's from Oviedo, Austurias, Spain to be exact. Does that explain my strange love of Spain? Nah, Spain is just easy to love. My attraction to Latin culture? I'll give a tip of the hat there. At least I think a little Spanish is easier to grasp than Welsh! It certainly makes for a new addition to the bucket list.
And I have a favorite new grandmother quote from a great great grandmother I never knew about, but I do now. When confronted with the down the nose sneering of our WASPy Back Bay Bostonian side of the family concerning her heritage, she made a comment that came down through history as "When your English ancestors were still painting their faces blue running around in animal skins, my ancestors had art, music and literature!" Some things must certainly be genetic! Oh these wonderful women.
Have a tap-into-it Thursday. Do something tightrope-walking-ish. With a net.