Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The mind begins storing data for the unresponsive

The brain is a marvelous thing. It picks up all sorts of information, storing it away as a squirrel saves up for the future. You aren't even aware of most of these gems at the time. I loved sitting around the stove on bleak and bitter nights listening to my Dad talk of his hunting exploits and friends, and Mom remembering how poor they were but the richness they found in their life. When relatives came, I wanted to be there in their midst to hear all the tidbits, what Grandpa
Thomas Gideon remembered about the civil war, how my Dad traveled with his family as a small boy by covered wagon to New Mexico, about the Aunts running a cafe at Indio. Such a lot of information passed by my busy little brain. There was an awareness of people, but no real links realized.
My first real experiance with genealogy came, as it does to most kids, when a teacher required that we write a chart with our parents and grandparents entered as far back as we could. I interviewed my mothers parents, who I did not really know very well, and my dads parents. My mother showed me letters from a family researcher, a maternal great aunt. It was fascinating. How did I knew so little about my family? I had only known my grandparents, and part of my great grandparents.
The mind threw some names out of its warehouse--Danny, Hugh, rodeo Shockleys in Oklahoma, Lonny Don, Arbalee but there were no connections, no mental links to find them. I had remembered the best type of hounds to own and hunt, the necessity of left hand barber sissors, how parched corn will sustain life when you are kept laying in the safe banks of a hollow with the enemy taking pot shots at you and keeping you down and such things, but family links? No. I took notes, wrote my chart, copied much of my great aunts tidbits and life moved on. I would do genealogy someday but there were lots of things that I had to do right now. Except for one trip further south in the state of California, maybe it was Landcaster?, to visit Uncle Jacks widow, whoever Uncle Jack was ---? I kept on with the important teenage stuff that I had to do.
When I married, I wanted to to keep in touch with my family, so there were Christmas letters and off and on letters to some of my aunts but it wasn't until I had moved out of state,and had a busy family and crash, lost another daughter that I turned to genealogy.
Dark nights, sleep not found, the business computer, time, and a Christmas gift of a genealogy software program, were the real starting point. I turned to the serious business of rooting out my roots.