Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Secret lives

 In an ongoing process I keep trying to reconstruct the family tree. It is a lifelong thing and a source of amusement to me. I certainly wish I had started sooner as it would be a lot easier. But I didn't and find myself trying to pull facts from the pages of the past. What I have discovered is not all is as it would appear to be. In those dusty old records and files there are tidbits of information that send me off in a different directions. I get distracted often by those little turns in the path. In fact I find myself spending more time pursuing those than sticking with the main body of my research. Thing there is, I'm not looking for recorded fact, I'm searching for something much more elusive. I'm trying to find the how and why of it. It is always supposition in the end because there is no one left to tell the tale. Obviously that is why I should have started a lot sooner.
 I have managed to collet a few tidbits of information here and there. Old newspapers shed a bright light on social pressures that may be the cause for certain actions. It is important to know the social context when figuring out the why of things. You really do need to enter their world. It can be a tedious journey, going back in time. Learning the little nuances is the most difficult part. What we would call the " social graces." They are quite a bit different than today. Our " sensibilities " have changed over the years. Many times I believe we have lost our senses ! But that is another topic altogether.
 Yesterday as I was stumbling around in the darkness. I was revisiting a mystery I have yet to resolve. There is at least one living individual that could fill in the blanks but refuses to do so. I can only speculate as to why the withholding of that information is important. Nevertheless I keep trying to figure it out and am certain I will succeed one day. That person is my mother ! I asked when her anniversary is. I'm talking about her marriage to my father. Her response remains, I don't remember. I can't help but believe she is being less than truthful about that. Yes, she is 87 but she doesn't have any memory issues. She is the youngest of ten and all her siblings have passed on so there is none I can ask. Her marriage to my father is a bit of a mystery. It is my belief that they got married in New York State but even that is questionable. Mom doesn't remember that information either. The state of New York will not release marriage certificates to anyone else until both parties are deceased.
 I called my sister and we discussed this mystery as we have done for many years now. This isn't a new thing. According to my sister, Mom has always had this selective amnesia in regard to that date and place. It is apparent that there is something she doesn't want anyone to know. After we had spoken for some time this thought came to me. I should write a book and call it The Secret Lives of Parents ! Wouldn't that be interesting ? It certainly appeals to my inquisitive nature. You know that part of me that thirsts for knowledge and understanding. Yeah , alright I do enjoy a bit of gossip and the juicy details. I'm a parent, I have a few nuggets that I haven't shared with my children. I would if asked though. I don't think it is withholding information if you are willing to share. I mean, just because you don't tell that doesn't mean you are keeping secrets, right ?
 If I were to write such a book it would have very limited appeal. I mean who cares about the mistakes and scandals of those not related to you. The stories wouldn't be anything new. It does take us years to discover that our parents are people. Yes, they were young once and did foolish things. They made a great number of mistakes, probably the ones they are most adamant that you do not ! As hard as it is believe, and we cringe when we do, they even have sex. Sure we know they had to do " it " or we wouldn't be here but thinking that they still do, eww. What else might they have done ? There is so much that we just don't know about them.
 Some time back I thought I might write a tell all book about myself. I thought then and still do that it would be an interesting thing to my descendants. The more I thought about it the more I realized it may not be a good idea. I'm certain it would change the perceptions my children and grandchildren have of me. I think that be would true for all of us. So, I'm thinking the publication would have to be delayed for a number of years, generations even ! I'm thinking it should only be revealed to those that never knew me in the flesh, someone completely detached. But even in that case I'm not so sure. I'm thinking it would depend upon how long you are talked about and remembered. What I mean is I don't remember my great grandmother as she passed when I was two. I have heard many stories about her. If I were to read about her " secret life " I'm certain my perception of her would change. I'm not completely detached from her. That leads to another question. Can you be completely detached from your ancestors ? It doesn't seem that way does it ? Well at least not if that ancestor enjoyed any fame or notoriety. So, what of those forgotten or having no acclaim ? Are they fair game ? Yes because they are inconsequential aren't they ? I don't want to be inconsequential. I wonder if writing that book would make me consequential. At the very least I would be talked about, and being talked about keeps you alive. Seems like a win to me. The only thing then is, how long do I want to wait to be resurrected ?