School is approaching, I can feel it…

Saw my favorite Staples commercial, the one where the father is zooming through the store on the back of a buggy singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” while his kids look forlorn. The buggy is full of school supplies.

Today we had to sign up for cheerleading and I got an email for #2s band fees. Yup, it’s almost time to go back to school. I don’t really mind. Seems I do a lot more research during the school year. I always tell myself I am going to research during the summer, but I never do. I feel guilty ignoring the kids that way. Seems I shouldn’t be looking for dead people while they are playing the Wii. I know, it’s crazy. LOL

But when they start doing research papers, and algebra, I feel okay spending my time looking at microfilm and old census records. It seems fitting somehow that I spend that time looking for their roots while they look for their wings.

I often wonder how our roots affect us. My great great grandfather fought in the Civil War. He deserted (so they say). He said he was captured and taken to a POW camp, where he had surgery on his arm to remove a bullet. I haven’t been able to find any proof that he was taken prisoner, though a doctor at the time stated his arm was shorter than the other one, indicating that he had had part of the bone removed. I read in Parade Magazine last week about brain injuries sustained by soldiers. I wondered did CW vets sustain any brain injuries due to their battles? This man married and had 6 children, one of which was my great grandmother. She was said to have been quick tempered and abusive toward her children. Did she learn this behavior from her father? Was it because of injuries he sustained in the war, or was he always abusive? Was he even tempered and she learned the behavior from her mother? Did my CW ancestor sustain more than just an injury to his arm in the CW? Did the bombs and bullets flying around him affect his personality as well? Did that personality change then affect his future children? His future grandchildren? Even his future great grandchildren? Scary when you think about it. Here was a man who was just doing what he thought was best. An only child. He got injured, yet could never prove his injury enough to his country to ever earn a pension, and his family suffered in untold ways for generations. Or maybe the daughter was just mean. It happens. These are the kinds of things you can’t find out about your ancestors on papers like the census or deeds or wills. You won’t find that an ancestor fought with depression or anxiety, or post traumatic stress or was an alcoholic. (A good indication that maybe he or she did suffer from one of the others.) While you may be able find where an ancestor lived, owned land, married, died, or is buried, you’ll never be able to find out what made him or her tick. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe knowing an ancestor was just, as my dad would say “mean as hell” isn’t the thing to know about a person. Maybe it’s best to think of all our ancestors in the glowing terms that we tend to think of them in. They all got married at age 20.5. Ten months later, they had their first baby, a boy, of course. Two years later, a girl, followed by another two years later. They lived together in wedded bliss buying and selling property and leaving deeds for the next fifty years before dying and being buried side by side in the church cemetery where he was deacon, she was pianist and neither ever caused a controversy their entire lives. He died one year before she died fully testate. Their oldest was the executor and she died a year later, leaving the estate to be divided equally amongst their five children and 8 grandchildren.

Ah, if only genealogy was so simply and dry cut.


4 thoughts on “School is approaching, I can feel it…

  1. Hi Teresa

    It seems really weird when you say about the school summer holidays being nearly over. Ours only started last week, over here in the UK and they don’t go back until the last week of August.

    For two months before then we have exam time. All children who are 16 before the end of July in that year take their GCSE’s, this is when all children have an exam in each subject on a set day for each, that last about 2 hours and is nationwide.

    They can either leave school then forever or go onto college or stay on at school for another 2 years and select 2 or 3 subjects. Their exams are at the same time as the GCSE’s and if they get good grades they can then choose to go on to University.

    My nephew took his last GCSE on his 16th birthday last week and came home absolutely “buzzin” to find a letter saying that he had been refused by the army as he suffers from migraines. He was so upset.

    Oh well I have to go now as my sister is on the phone asking me if I want to adopt her two for the duration of the holidays [lol].


    ps creep creep, please do you have a copy of the July organisation sheets

  2. Lin,
    I so wish the US did high school that way. My two have basically just been waiting until time to go to college. We spend so much money on PreK classes getting kids ready for school, but high schoolers are just bored silly. I think the dropout rate would go down if we did the same thing.

  3. Catching up, but I loved so much of this post that I couldn’t just pass it by.

    RE: High School in the US. The best thing I ever, ever did was to let my oldest opt into the junior college system at 15. As you pointed out, he was bored silly in the high school and was just killing time waiting to get to college. Unlike yours, he wasn’t interested in the extracurricular aspects of high school, so it was just deadly boring. As he approached his senior year at a 4-year university, I finally have the reassurances I’ve been looking for that trusting my gut was the right thing to do. The horrid summer I anticipated didn’t ever happen and we’re all doing well.

    Re: Knowing more rather than less about our ancestors. I think knowing more is like coloring in the page. The bare facts are the outlines of a coloring page, but knowing more (even if it creates more questions than answers) provides flesh to the individuals. The deserter? Maybe your theory is right…mean doesn’t just happen…imagine a life of trying to live down erroneous information, the kind that ruins a man’s honor…what a burden that would have been to everyone involved. Ah, well, we can only guess, can’t we?

  4. Glad your summer turned out good. I think what we refer to as our gut is really the Holy Spirit and so like you I try very hard to listen to those gentle nudges especially with my kiddos. I think think we just have to go with what we feel is best and if it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

    This summer hasn’t been easy, but I have just went with what I have felt is best each day and it is all working out for the very best. Mine is very ready to start that freshman year. He now knows exactly what he wants to do with his life and I think it’s a great match for him.

    I try to figure out what made my ancestors tick. I don’t think all my ancestors were perfect people who followed a perfect genealogy mold. They were all human and made mistakes and sinned and goofed up their kids and I want to know why they made the choices they did. I think if we can look at the whole picture we can not only see a man’s sin, but we can see why a man sins and then we can forgive him of those sins. I see it as walking in his shoes a little. I don’t want just the dates and places and images of a person’s life. I want to really know that person. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I want my kids to love me despite those mistakes. I try hard to be a good parent and I am sure my ancestors did too, and so when they weren’t I look to see what might have gotten them off that path that most of us start on when we hold that baby that very first day. Maybe I over analyze them too much, but I don’t want to think of them all as these perfect people who did no wrong who lived their lives perfectly and then be disillusioned when the facts show otherwise.

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