Holding Two Hundred Years Of Family In My Hands

I don’t know how much anyone else I knows day dreams about their history.

Imagining parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles and their daily lives. I’ve held receipts for grains purchased over one hundred and fifty years ago.  I’ve held deeds almost two hundred years old.  I’ve imagined their faces and been blessed to see some of their faces.

I’ve seen pictures from the very early 1900’s with *gasp* shoulders or thigh showing with smiling young faces.  Forever reminding me that what I knew as “older” was younger than what I am now.

I have my great great great grandparents handwriting.  Words written on paper that their forearm rested upon.

I have now touched the very tie that was neatly tied around my great grandfather’s neck at his very own funeral.  The man who, himself, arrived from Ireland to start our world here.

I’ve read my grandfather’s own words documenting his physical activities of bowling, swimming and love of sports.  He listened to Jack Dempsey lose the world heavy weight title.  He documented his work outs.  As I do one hundred years later.   I’ve read of his daily events.   Did he expect this daily jotting of his to be marveled over by his granddaughter one hundred years later.

There is so much to read.  So much to look at.  So much to absorb and relive of their lives.

And just as a treat for a cousin or two…

Here is a picture of their mother (my aunt) as a baby, sitting upon her “Papa’s” lap, her mother is standing, and Papa’s mother is sitting.  Papa’s mother would have been in her mid to late 80’s in this picture.

Joan sitting on Poppa’s lap, Ruth standing and Grandmother Hoy sitting.

Looking at her, seeing her face, my own great great grandmother.   Look at her!  Imagine the history she saw as her current events.  Imagine the history she learned from her parents and grandparents that I want to know!  She saw faces that I will never see.  She knows things I will never know.  What did her eyes see?  Her ears hear?  Her hands do?  Where is that chair she sits in?

I can see her.  But I can not see what she saw looking back from that chair.

This fascinates me.

In twenty years, fifty years, another one hundred years….

I hope there is a great great grandchild of mine who does know all that I know right now and looks upon this picture, at Grandmother Hoy’s face and thinks…

She knew so much and all I can do is imagine…

Because for me, I can sit and stare at her and imagine all that she has within her right there.  She’s right there.  And all I can do is imagine.

And I do.