More from Craig’s blog:
More from Craig’s blog:
|I was sitting in church watching my friend and her family, knowing that they were visiting briefly, and still mourning the death of their 22 yr.-old son who’d died the year before. Every old friend they hugged must have made the grief unbearable. We cried and I told her I had an idea for a poem about a shooting star because that’s who Devin was to everyone. I have miscarried once and that grief was impossible. But having never lost a child I’d given birth to, I did my best with this poem to express what must be unfathomable pain. Today I dedicate this poem and post to Lucy Lenore Johnson, an ancestor of my husband, and her parents Uphard and Elizabeth, who may have welcomed Devin home.|
When I was young and full of hope, and dreamed how things would be,Of how you’d brighten up my life, and how much you’d mean to me,I thought of times still future bound, filling holes I never knewExisted in this mother’s heart, until I witnessed you.
Then I looked up. And much to my surprise I was aglow!And I believed no one in the world would ever know,The feelings of one tender heart, stretched to let in blazing light,Changed forever in one cloudless, starry night.
To take in all your beauty, all the mystery you’d leave.But now you’re gone, the light grows dim.Alone I’m left to feel… your presence in my memoryThough far away so real.Oh, I never knew the emptiness that you would leave for meWould never leave again, or how hard life now would be.To live and breathe without you, knowing you’re no longer here,But brightening anothers sky in some far distant sphere.
But I’ll look up,Remembering you crossed my life one night.And I will wishFor strength to make it through another night.I’ll wish upon five million starsThat you could stay with me,Knowing that’s a wish that for now cannot be.
You are my shooting star for now, although that’s hard to bear.I’ll hold onto what I have of you, and with each breath I’ll dareTo risk to live another day with a leaking, rusty heart,Holding everything together while it’s falling all apart.I’ll hope a little longer that the day won’t last too long.Because the nighttime waits for me. I’ve known it all along.Each tear I shed makes clearer stars that quietly appear.Your name I’ll whisper once again with hope that you are near.
And I’ll look up, to trails of glory left as you were passing through.And I’ll believeIn future worlds where all the shooting stars I knewWill someday stayAnd seeing me will startPassing to me pieces of my broken heart.Betsy Cross
The grandfather clock that sits across from me has been silent for a while. It’s my job to wind it. No one else thinks of it. Maybe I’m the only one who enjoys its chimes. I contemplate getting up to reach for the key, open the glass door, and getting it going again. But I go back to bringing the dead back to life instead.
For more than 200 years generations of the Rich family lived and worked as seamen off the shores of Truro, Massachusetts, just about an hour down the road from me. And one day in the mid 1870′s Edmund and Elizabeth left Cape Cod and settled their family in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Once a thriving community of seaman, the Cape started a slow decline in the mid 1870′s because of technological advances in steam engines and railroads that would decrease the need for trained and experienced captains who were no longer required to travel to foreign ports. And when time stood still for them in those few years they were forced to make serious life changes and do what no ancestor in anyone’s memory had to navigate: life away from the sea.
I’ve made the trip over the Cape Cod Canal many times. Three times it was to say goodbye through grief and tears and a touch of fear of the new adventure. And three times it was to return home to the familiar sights and smells of home. Each move opened new doors. I don’t regret any of them even though they brought their share of pain.
But fate is sometimes kind to the courageous.
Their daughter Elizabeth met George Washington Johnson, seventh child of Uphard and Elizabeth, also living in Somerville, Massachusetts.
|Uphard, the dad|
“Your father, Lizzie? What does he do?”
“He owns a vegetable cart in town. He used to be a seaman. But that dried up. So here we are. Landlubbers, now.”
|Elizabeth Johnson, George’s mom|
The two had their first child, Alta, in 1880, two years after they got married, while living with Uphard and Elizabeth in Somerville, Massachusetts. Now that had to be fun. Living with the parents has its challenges and blessings.
(The first weight of the clock hits bottom.)
Especially when the Riches came to visit. Three Elizabeths under the same roof?
“You be Lizzie and I’ll be Elizabeth. Your mum? Maybe she won’t mind Liz, or Lizbeth.”
My name’s Elizabeth, but I’ve always been Betsy. I sign my name both ways. My kids think it’s time to stick to one of them. HA! Easier said than done! People deciding for me who I am never works for long. Strong people like to make decisions that appear smart, but rarely check in with the heart for its say. And hearts are funny when not listened to. Pay attention to the first sound of a fissure forming and spreading or deal with the consequences forever.
(The second weight of the clock joins the first.)
“Time to close up George. Go home to the Missus and youngun,” announces Mr. Manager. ” When’s the baby due?”
“Any day now,” George answers as he slips his arms into the sleeves of protection over the two shirts and one armadillo-like layer of skin thickened by repeated exposure to nerve endings.
A few days later, sometime in 1884, Chester is born in the Johnson home.
( weight number three reaches bottom and time stands still.)
Decision-making time. Either they keep on keepin’ on or…
….”Let’s be farmers! Come on Honey. I HAVE to get out of here. I love my folks. They’ve been great. But I need to have a place of my own. I’ve saved us some money working at the store. But I CAN’T go back there for the rest of my life. I can’t! Please don’t make me. I want to have cows and maybe some pigs and chickens…”
“But…the children. I’ll have nobody to help with the children. And our parents. What about how they’ll feel? We can’t just take the children so far away. They’ll never remember them!”
“New Hampshire isn’t THAT far away! We’ll build a big enough house for them to come stay at for a good long visit. They’ll love the country!”
He did it! He convinced Lizzie to start fresh in New Hampshire with the two kids who would have four more siblings by 1904. They finally had a place of their own. Land, a working dairy farm, and a pond across the way.
Time started fresh. Life had come full circle. Sure, they could have stayed put. People do all the time. But it’s okay to try something new, too. Spice things up a bit. ‘Cause life is short and only what you make it.
And no matter what, some things will change and others will always stay the same. That’s how it was for George and Lizzie.
They left George’s parents, melancholy and breaking hearts on all sides, and started a new adventure…
…with Lizzie’s parents moving in with them in New Hampshire!!
Her 50th birthday was just a few days before. But she was still a beautiful woman.
My name is Stan Faryna. The name, Faryna, comes from my father’s family – Polish immigrants to America. To be sure, Faryna is a most unusual Polish name. This is a story about my family name.
Some of my personal favorite posts:
Everybody loves Bill! He’s a lot of fun and a frequent visitor here. I met Bill on Twitter and serve with him on two Triberr tribes. His blog, billdorman.me is a fun place to stop by for a good read on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Trust me, he’s great entertainment. And so is the comment section!
Do you ever wonder who blazed the trail before you; the sum of all parts who determined in some way the person you have become?
I had never really given it much thought when I was younger, and even though my dad’s family was relatively close knit and were great story tellers, I never knew much about the family beyond my grandfather.
Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away when I was 5 years old.
I do know ‘Big Daddy’ was a preacher man and he was going all over rural Florida in the 30′s and 40′s starting churches. I also know my father did not care for the vagabond lifestyle, moving almost every year.
It can be addicting.
My father passed away when I was 39; but about 3-4 years prior to that I became interested in the ‘family’ and began asking questions. I started bugging all of the relatives and really came up with some interesting stories. It was fun to watch the excitement as they recollected long forgotten memories. Every time I would ‘discover’ something new, I would pass it on.
This was a little bit before the internet so you almost had to be a private detective digging through census data in genealogical libraries and such. However, when you started connecting the dots, it just made me want to dig some more.
I see dead people.
My wife thought it was silly to be chasing dead people. I would counter that my efforts were bringing these people alive, and if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t even be here. I was curious to ‘know’ who they were.
You can glean valuable information from census data. You will see who the neighbors were, who married who, their occupation, etc. This helps you piece their life together.
As the discoveries were made I would always try to envision what their life was like at that time. I would wonder if they were having fun or if life was hard. I also wondered what mannerisms and characteristics they had that have carried down to me.
There will be hidden treasures.
One thing I quickly found out, there is no unclaimed Dorman estate money out there. The other thing I found out was there are a lot more Dorman’s than I imagined.
Just like social, you can start chasing down a lot of different trails. Therefore, most of my efforts have been straight line, direct Dorman descendants that if any link in the chain were broken, I wouldn’t be here writing this.
I know of towns, schools, roads, buildings, murders, war heroes, etc that I can trace. Some of the stories I could tell would be pretty colorful and that is what is most interesting.
They say US southerners take root; well I am probably a testament to this statement. I can trace my direct line to the early 1700′s where Mitchel Dorman lived in North Carolina; every migration from there just kept going south.
Aren’t you curious?
With sites like Ancestry.com, it has become very easy to discover your family history. Just like social, not every thing you read and/or discover should be taken as gospel, so it pays to verify all sources of information. It is very easy to get diverted if you don’t.
I have found 3rd, 4th & 5th ‘cousins’, some of them local, who have also taken an interest in family history. This is another great way to cross check your information, finding ‘relatives’ who are also looking.
Where did I come from?
Well, we all probably came from the proverbial ‘Eve’ on the plains of Africa; but beyond that I definitely have European ancestry. Originally, I assumed England but since I haven’t jumped the pond yet in my discoveries, I have reason to believe it could be Ireland or Germany as well.
If you have any curiosity at all, I would recommend at least taking a look. However, I will warn you, it can be very addicting……..just like social.
Principal/owner @LanierUpshaw, Inc. FSU grad; Auburn dad; interested in people & relationships, who you want to be when you grow up. My themes will run from social media to life to community to corporate life and what it all means to me, of course.
Recent posts at Bill’s place:
Find Bill Dorman on:
“Death from kidney failure is generally considered a gentle death. In fact, many physicians and nurses would choose to die of kidney disease rather than any other illness.”
So here we are looking at Charles, Henrietta, and me. I know what his fate was. I have it in black and white. I ponder those last days with Charles. How quiet they must have been. I imagine the serenity as he slipped away in his sleep, no pleading for mercy to take him early.
I’m left in awe of the gift the two of them were given and I cry. What a blessing to be allowed to finish in peace and to focus on his immortality!
I have made many assumptions about people and how impending death could or would cause them to change. Some people use the wake up call to pay attention to life’s blessings and to express outwardly their gratitude for having lived a life. Others stay quiet and never share the deep thoughts and changes going on inside. There are no visible manifestations that the looming event has registered.
I am humbled to know that I can’t change how a person lives a life. I can only take what I’m learning from what I’m observing and ask if I’m being truly grateful, with outward expressions, that I’ve received the wake-up call that that door is right in front of me and that I’ve taken every advantage of every opportunity to lift, inspire, and comfort one more soul with the time I’ve been given today.
Will I listen more intently, hug tighter and longer, and smile more often? Maybe for a few minutes I will. But inevitably I slip back into feeling immortal and save those moments for another day.
Eventually those moments will run closer and closer together and as I practice living in the moment, time will feel more precious and I will feel richer for having chosen to give more of me away.
Reminds me of this quote:
I hope the same for you; that we will be more outwardly focused and seek to lift, comfort, and inspire in the midst of our grand adventure we call mortality.
Guest post by Ann Jane
When Betsy asked me to write a guest post on her blog, she had me shaking in my snow boots. Me? Write? On someone’s blog? A formal type writer I am not.
However, what she asked me to write about was easy: My Grandparents or someone earlier.
[Ann admitted to me that when the temperature hits 50* she's outdoors painting, so her blog, Willy Nilly, This and That might be all about her artwork! (hint, Ann!)]
The first I remember being there I was probably five years old because my brother was a baby and for some reason he cried all the way there. Kind of unforgettable in a car with 6 people and a 30 mile ride. It seems like a forever ride to a five year old anyway. But what fun it was to finally get there.
I was named after Anna, my Great Grandma. I always thought that was kind of cool and she and my Great Grampa John were quite the characters, running that Inn from the 1920′s until the late 1950′s. The Inn was located just South of the Resort towns of Saugatuck, Douglas and Holland, on the main and, at that time only, road North along the Lakeshore of Lake Michigan between Chicago and points North. Back then it was almost exclusively Chicago people who had Summer Homes on the Lake, the most famous being Al Capone. Some interesting people passed through and came to eat at the Inn and spend the night in the cabins.
Back then, I was the youngest mobile child at these family Sunday and Holiday get togethers. The older kids could wander and play in the Orchard or on the bridge over the Koi Pond but being the Wee One as he called me, my Gramps seemed to be my playmate. He was a combination magician, artist and someone who just knew how to be a kid himself. The old man had a huge bushy white mustache and a shock of unruly white hair and he always wore some kind of straw hat or Beret to hold it down.
Oh boy could he tickle a little kid with that “stache”!
Gramps thrilled all the kids with the Quarter appearing out of your ear trick and a Quarter was a lot of goodies at the corner store for kids in those days. The boys would tuck theirs in their pants pocket but for us girls still in our Sunday Best dresses, Gram would get a handmade lace edged handkerchief and make a knotted pouch and tie it around our wrist. She seemed to have a never ending supply of these handkerchiefs in her apron pockets for some reason.
Gramps was never without a pencil tucked over his ear and a pad of paper stuffed in a pocket. The man could sketch and draw anything you asked him to. THAT was my greatest fascination: to see lines turn into an animal and the animal into a scene out of his head. He must have done hundreds for me in the short 5 years that I was lucky to have time to spend with him.
I’m sorry to say I didn’t inherit his drawing talent — but it sure hasn’t been for a lack of trying over the years!
My Great Gramma Anna sold the restaurant part of the Inn after he died but she still ran the 8 little cabins behind the house. Somehow it just wasn’t the same going to visit after he passed, maybe because I was older and there were younger kids and I could play with the big kids. There was a very big presence, at least for me, that was missing.
The What Not Inn is still there today and has been remodeled and expanded over the years to a Bar and full service restaurant. There is this Awesome wall as you come in the door with photographs from the day it was built to the present and local area photos, with my Great Gramps in almost every one of the old original ones — along with a few infamous guests that spent their Summers on the Shore.
I think I should go visit that place again. This time, I think take my camera and see if I can recapture some memories.
Some fun posts of Jane’s: