Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remodeling the Family Tree

They sat beneath the grape arbor. A grandmother. A great grandmother. They sat with two granddaughters who would always remember them. On a sunny day, they made a memory.

Ethel Hollinger Loxley, June, Peggy, Angeline Bookwalter Hollinger

My sisters have memories that I, born years after them, do not share. I'm jealous. I want those memories, too. Sometimes I look at these faces trying to absorb what I can of the women who touched the lives of so many. Still all I have are pictures....pieces of a time I did not know.

Maybe that is why Neff Road is so important to me. I want other generations to know more about their roots. Not just a family tree but a story of the past and profiles of the people who share their genes. Perhaps I want to have a conversation with those future generations telling them that there were  wonderful people who came before who loved, who struggled, who were full of laughter and talent. Now I must try to find glimpses of those I never knew. Their lives are the roots of who I am. Perhaps through the window of my writing those to come will discover more pieces of themselves.

Most of my life I was asked if I was Ethel Loxley's granddaughter. She touched lives. She had a sense of humor and a loving heart. She was intelligent and bore much during her years. I know my great grandmother by the words of my cousin, Alma Lea. I can see in the pictures the love she gave to the children she held. I have only glimpses, but those who remember give to me the women in the pictures.

I think we make a mistake by just drawing lines from name to name showing our roots. My sister has included in her family history profiles and pictures of each person. She writes history in each entry. She passes on a gift to future generations.

They sit beneath the arbor. A moment captured. A moment that today includes me.

On A Grandparent's Voice today: Brain File


Barbara McDowell Whitt said...

Pamela, I'm with you with regard to our ancestry needing to be much more than lines on a family tree. The photo of your two older sisters with your grandmother and great grandmother under the arbor is priceless. I like the way the dog had captured their attention.

Pamela Loxley Drake said...

Thanks, Barbara. I love this picture.