Friday, August 10, 2012

family archaeology and storytelling

Family tradition in real time. Yum yum – so good to chew on
ack in 1920, 19-year-old Reed Alexander married 17-year-old Mary Roquemore. The couple lived in Athens, Georgia, where they had five boys. Billy died as an infant, Peter was lost at sea (theU.S.S.Angelina) in WW2, and the others – Robert, Charles, and George – all became Presbyterian ministers.
Money was scarce between the wars, so it was a noteworthy event when Reed bought home a matched pair of rocking chairs not long after the 1920 wedding. Robert (Rebekah’s father) famously cut his teeth on the arms, and GrandMary pointed out the indentations as her rationale for passing the beautiful chairs on to Rebekah around 1980.
Our infant children added to the gnawing history with great enthusiasm. Then, when Naomi and Craig decided it was time to begin another new generation, the set was split up for the first time in 90 years and we took one of the rockers to Connecticut. The other chair – one day – will find its home with Andrew and Alicia.
HONOR HISTORY: This brief history is why we were so excited to see the above photograph posted on Naomi’s facebook page Thursday afternoon. Yes, and not surprisingly at all, David Henry Campbell is adding his tooth-prints to the archeological record of a rocking chair that has witnessed a lot of love over the years and is obviously destined to see a lot more.
I value and honor stories from family history. Our grandson David is part of a family where – on his mother’s side – Maul, Alexander, Perkins, Kemp, Roquemore, Watts, Coates, Bradley, and more (many more) have contributed legend and personality and DNA galore.
Family records trace to pre-1776 in Georgia and North Carolina. Immigration to the USA came from 17th Century Scots dissidents, persecuted French Huguenots (again, 17th Century), and a globe-trotting English teenager in the mid 1970′s.
Then, on the Campbell side, there are more great stories that I’m sure David’s dad will be happy to uncover and share.
THE POINT: Life is so full and so busy that we often forget to treasure the contribution of years gone by.
I’m especially conscious of this now that my brother, Geoff, is no longer alive. But Geoff’s story is still very much alive, and those of us who understand the rich impact of yesterday on today also understand how important it is to make sure that great stories are retold, honored, and passed down – like those rocking chairs – to a future that will be richer for them.
Learn your family stories!
If you don’t know your family stories, then I suggest you get your listening ears on, and learn to ask some good ques

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