Monday, July 24, 2006


This is another post that our son has posted. I love it...


This is a picture that came in a "Round Robin" letter my mother has going. For those of you who don't know what a Round Robin letter is, it's like a chain letter only without the catch. One person writes a page, inserts it in the envelope and mails it to the next person on a list. When the letter comes back to you, you remove your old page, put in a new one and send it on again.
Some of the people on the list are only tangentially connected to my own life and yet, through the vector of my mother, I can't have escaped their influence. The Butterfly Effect on a personal level.

I only knew one of the women in this picture, my great-grandmother. She's the one standing on the right. When I was very young we would visit and in the evening she would sit in her rocking chair and we would take turns brushing her hair. She always wore her hair in a bun just like in the photo, but at night she would let her hair down and it would become this glorious, silken curtain of white that draped over the back of her chair and reached almost to our knees. Wrapped in a terry robe, she would lean back and we would brush with long strokes. She would hum, sometimes laugh, often talk with our parents while we brushed and brushed and then we would braid one large long braid which she would pull over her shoulder in preparation for bed. It was a ritual that almost all of the myriad grandchildren she possessed passed through. She passed on a few years ago. Life, as it often does, had put space between us. Visits were rare and the magic of the brush had passed. I miss her. I wish I could be more like her, or at least like the myth of her that I have cobbled together.

The woman in a the middle of the photograph is my great-great grandmother. In the late 1800's my great-great grandfather left my great-great grandmother in New Mexico where they lived to go look for work in The Indian Territorities (soon to be Oklahoma). When he found employment he wrote to his wife with the good news and she loaded her six kids, the oldest of which was a fourteen year old boy, into a wagon and made the trip from New Mexico to Oklahoma. From all accounts she was an extraordinary woman. We never existed together. She died long before I was born but there is
a photo of her holding my mother. And there is this:

This is part of a plant that my great-great grandmother gave to my great grandmother who passed it on to my great aunt who gave it to my mom who gave it to me.
It's just a plant, except it's not. It's a connection. A piece of the myth and fact that is my life.
Parts of these myths and facts will be lost in the passing to my children, just as parts have been lost in the passing to me. More will be lost in the passing to their children and that makes me a little sad. But new parts will be added and that makes me happy because in the end it's not the myth or the facts that are important, it's the connection.

No comments: