The roots of a family tree are a lot like the roots of a real tree. Sometimes they aren’t visible at all; you know they’re there and have been for many years, but they are covered up by the rich soil, doing their job, not demanding any attention whatsoever. Other times, the rugged, old, and twisted roots poke through the earth and force their way into the light, and we have a chance to see the very foundation of our family’s beginning. At a glance, they may not be pretty. But upon further inspection, it becomes clear: those roots represent the very beginning of us, of me, of life as I know it. Each lump, scar and bend in the root stands for a stage in the life of the people who built our family.
Grandma Ruby, my dad’s mom, turns 96-years-old in April and our family has been gearing up for the accompanying family reunion. Mostly we’ve been enjoying pictures pulled out and scanned by aunts who have had them tucked away. While they seem unique to me, I know many in my generation and older have images like these in their collection, or even on display (if they choose to embrace their beginnings, that is). Still, it’s a poignant reminder of a rough start, the early years when my grandparents started their family in Eufaula, OK then migrated west to Kern County.
The generation before me has been careful to preserve a record of our lineage. Genealogy has been a hobby for some and passion for others in our family, so we are fortunate to have a thorough record of who begat whom. But what about the rest of the story? Sure, I know some of it from listening to family here and there. Now that I’ve lost my mom, though, I realize how important it is to really talk about, remember, and even record in some way, the history of our family…to ensure that, moving forward, I and my children and my future grandchildren will have a glimpse of our family’s roots.
Tonight is the first-step. Daddy and two of his sisters are coming over for dinner, where I hope to gather some of the tales from their younger days. Next, I hope to put some of those stories down on paper as a way to remember and honor our family’s heritage and the people who helped make me who I am today.
I can’t wait!