Monday, January 03, 2011

Don't cry over broken eggs

Fellow genea-blogger  composed an interesting blog entry titled Generations Alive when I was born posted at Paula's Genealogical Eclectica. She even went to far as to calculate how old her eldest son was when various family members passed away.

This got me to thinking - only my parents and grandparents were alive when I was born. My last living great-grandmother died 9 years prior to my birth. However, my father has told me a great deal about his paternal and maternal grandparents (my great-grandparents). So from my "memory" I can speak with some authority to my grandchildren about:
  • My great-grandparents (8 individuals)
  • My grandparents (4 individuals and a set of step-grandparents)
  • My parents generation (2 individuals, plus 2 step-parents, and my father's two siblings and children)
  • My siblings (5 besides Ol' Myrt, plus 5 step-siblings, and 2 half-siblings and their children and grandchildren)
  • My children (4 individuals)
  • My grandchildren (6 exceptionally bright, beautiful people)

So six generations can be easily discussed without having to consult my genealogy database.

Preserving traditions and family stories is where family historians shine. It is not just about assembling the facts of birth, marriage and death. And for the younger ones who weren't alive when some of our well-known ancestors lived, I've got many a story to tell.

Boy's circa 1920 Knickers from Kaboodle
I have fun telling my grandchildren how when my Dad was a very young "city-slicker" lad, his slightly older and wiser "farm boy" Uncle Kenneth asked Dad to store fresh eggs from the hen house in the pockets of his knickers.  (Do not confuse the American word "knickers" with the British use of the word meaning a form of ladies lingerie. A vintage sample of what Dad might have worn is pictured at right.)


Kenneth was only a few years older than Dad, and had a sense of humor. (Dad would describe it as a "terrible" sense of humor.)

Kenneth insisted that two or three eggs was the usual limit for each pocket; and Dad, trying to fit in, dutifully complied.

Uncle Kenneth then led Dad all over the farm yard, climbing fences and jumping from the hay loft several times before returning to the kitchen with the eggs requested by the women folk who planned to do some baking. But as you can imagine, by then the eggs had become smashed -- making quite a mess in my father's pants.

Dad was so upset he burst into tears and complained to his mother (Myrtle) about his terrible Uncle Kenneth.
Dad's mother fussed with her brother Kenneth about picking on someone his own size. And though Dad always loved his uncle, he was always suspicious of Kenneth's motives.

Dad told me this story about twenty times over the years, including the last year of his life. Fortunately by then, Dad saw the humor in the story.

Dad was a great one for family get-togethers, and always enjoyed telling stories about our ancestors, even when the joke was on him. Thankfully, I've inherited that same interest.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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