Saturday, February 21, 2015

family history revised

I spent some time this week cleaning up the “office.” I go in spurts of using this room as a workspace, then I let it get cluttered and avoid it hoping the organizing fairies will take care of it. They never do, so after a while I jump in and make it a workspace again. A cool side effect is that I find things I’ve forgotten about or didn’t even know I
Arthur & Nora Nolan
had. Like this picture of my great aunt and uncle at what was likely their 50th wedding anniversary. The picture is undated and I recognize my adolescent handwriting on the back labeling who it is, with the detail that they are “Mom’s aunt and uncle.”
I have vague memories of Aunt Nora, possibly invented memories but there is no one left to tell me otherwise. Nora died shortly after I turned 6.

I looked at the family tree I made in 8th grade with my mother’s help. I had made notes on it through the years and at some point my Mom felt I was old enough to know that Earl, who was listed as Nora and my grandmother’s brother was actually Nora’s son. Nora was unmarried and too young to take on the responsibility, so her parents raised Earl. I wonder now if Arthur knew that.

Looking at my addendums to the family tree always makes me smile. I love the idea of my Mom adding more to stories as I matured and became ready to hear them. Can you imagine all the family history that is slowly revised as children grow? And how many stories didn’t get their rewrite in time? We’ve lost a lot of the stories from my mother’s family. There’s just no one left who knows them. But there are these random treasures. There’s Aunt Nora and Uncle Arthur, happy, celebrating.

Now I just have to dig up a photo of Earl and see if he looks like Arthur.

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