Saturday, August 28, 2004

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig 

After Russia I stayed in Ft. Worth for a few days with my family. I got to indulge in my favorite activity while I'm home: rooting through old family photographs, mementos, and other assorted relics. I always unearth some fascinating artifacts that offer a lot of insight into the lives of my ancestors. Illustrious or not, they were all interesting. Here is an excerpt of my great-grandfather's memorial resolution letter I came across from the Exchange Club of Ft. Worth, which he helped found.

Born in Fannin County, Texas, he moved to Oklahoma Territory at the age of ten...
At the age of 25 he became mayor of the Town of Cornish, in which capacity he not only served as an administrator, but also sat in judgment in misdemeanor cases involving outlaw Indians, renegade whites, and half-breeds.

Not mentioned in the memorial was his famous habit of downing two Manhattans with his lunch at the Exchange Club each day.

I also found an old Christmas card on the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the War Between the States (still known in some circles as The War of Northern Aggression) from some of my cousins. The card featured a drawing of a soldier waving a tattered Confederate Army battle flag. The significance to Christmas escapes me. Next to the drawing was a roll of all of our family's Confederate army veterans. My great-great grandfather was listed as a drummer boy of a Texas regiment (22nd Texas Guards C.S.A). He also worked in a munitions plant when he was eleven and would have to bite the lead bullets as some part of the manufacturing process. He didn't seem any worse for the wear, which resulted in my grandmother saying, "Which is why I don't listen to all of this nonsense about lead poisoning!"

Some of her Southern heritage must have influenced me because when I was little I refused to read Little Women. I had no interest in the lives and hardships of those Yankee goody-two-shoes, whose father was away fighting on the enemy side. When I recently told my grandmother, who has mellowed greatly throughout the years, she sighed, "Oh, no. You must have learned that from me."

That heritage is hard to shake, because I still cringe when somebody calls me 'Yankee' when I'm abroad.

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