Surviving the Real Thing

Viva and Edgar 1942

Grandma and Grandpa Boulter

I was Teghan’s age when my Great-Grandma Boulter died. I had been to her home on several occasions, but I’m not sure we ever had a conversation. The only thing I could have told you about her was that her birthday was on Christmas. That was an interesting fact to me back then.

Of all my family history projects, her story has been the most detailed, and complicated. I would love to have a conversation with her now but I’m not sure she would give up all her secrets. I have no intention of telling her whole story here, but there is one part of her history that I think of often.

As a mother, she endured losses that are foreign to me. If not for an interest in genealogy, I may never have even known about it. I knew her as Grandma Boulter, but her given name was Viva (something else I never knew as a kid). And Viva had ten children in her lifetime. My grandpa was number four, from her first marriage. That marriage ended in 1931.

There is a baby book she kept for her sixth child, Lillian.

Lillian was born on January 15, 1937. The book documents her milestones. Viva mentions moments of her daughter’s first smile in the bath tub, along with concern for her health. The love she had for her daughter is obvious. Lillian died that September.  Continue reading

Will and Ruth (and a few more pictures of Jack)

 

willandruth

Back in November, I wrote a post about my husband’s great-grandparents and their son, Jack. Jack was born 100 years before my own daughter, and had some form of developmental disability. He was an example of how a happy, loving family made all the difference for him- even though we often think of those times as being much worse for children who didn’t quite fit in.

I have received a lot of messages about Jack and his family. You can read the original post here.   Continue reading

Veterans Day

 

Usually on Veterans Day I put together a short family history project to share with friends and family on Facebook. I post old letters, photos, and histories of various relatives and their roles in past wars. I haven’t been all that motivated this time. I have quite a few letters and photos of my mother’s parents who were both veterans of WWII. As I was looking back through old projects, I was struck by how much I didn’t know them.

I mean, we all have very different phases in our lives. If I make a timeline of my life, plotting every five years where I was, who I spent time with, what my daily activities were…it’s an eye opener to the way life changes. I have already lived many lives, in many places, and with many different people.

When I knew my grandparents they were in their retirement years, and I was a kid. We couldn’t possibly have known each other that well. My grandpa wasn’t exactly a kid’s best friend. He wasn’t mean, and when I watch old home movies I can see that he was always quite kind to me. There just wasn’t a lot of interaction. I am sure we would connect much better as adults, but he died when I was thirteen years old. There is so much I would like to ask him now.  Continue reading

It’s All Time Travel to Me

 

When I was eighteen I met my future husband in a group I traveled the country with. I kept a journal. The genealogist in me cannot believe I am saying this, but I have read this thing- and it has to be destroyed. I think I may hate that girl. At least she had enough sense to marry the guy she constantly talks about being in love with. And I mean CONSTANTLY. Outside of that, I pretty much disagree with every stupid thing she has to say.

This happened once before, when as a high school senior I received a letter I had written to myself when I was in the eighth grade. It was six pages on how awesome John Lennon was. Now, the eighteen year old me still loved John Lennon (and I always will love John Lennon), but I wrote so stupidly about it that I had to throw it away.

I stand by that decision. Sometimes the idea of something is better than knowing the full reality of it.

And so, I think I will be burning those journals.

Sometimes I wonder what I will think about these blog entries or my Facebook statuses twenty years from now. Facebook. What a goldmine for future genealogists. The documented account is the final word on any matter. And by final word, I mean for all time. You want to know about history? Look for photos, film, written accounts- everything else is long gone. In this way we choose, sometimes with regret, how future generations will see us. Assuming they even choose to look for us. Continue reading