As a writer, I spend a great deal of time researching. I think cracking open the books and surfing the internet for all the details, from the most exciting to the mundane, might be my favorite part of writing.
In my next writing project, I am studying a great deal about the life and times of my Great Grandmother. It has been fascinating. I meet at my grandmother's house with her sister and listen to the stories and impressions their mother left them with. But not only do I have the privilege of word of mouth, my aunt has also kept a great deal of records and books written about the family heritage. One of these, was a book published years and years ago (I couldn't find the date it was written) and I would like to share two excerpts from it written about the Spear family…
After covering a generation of Spear men and women, this following paragraph heralded the author's pride of family. I have copied it exactly as it was originally printed, typos and spelling errors and all.
"There are five widows among us and none of them want to marry. There are two widowers and they want to marry. There are six old maids and they are skittish about beaus, but they might be induced to consider the subject of marriage. There is an old dried up batchelor somewhere and he would knock a fellow down if he would mention merry to him. The seeds of disease and death are sown into our mortal bodies, and we sicken and die much like other human beings, but there is no hereditary disease in our race of either body or mind. There has never been an epileptic anywhere along the line. Nor have we ever been represented in an insane asylum. We are a healthy, common sense set of people. Our women are good cooks, but here is one thing some women know, that our women are slow to learn, that is how to make one chicken last for three meals in a large family, with some company. They can't get on to the trick, though they have been told how it is done. There are more apt to have two chickens for one meal."
It is that last part, about how the women are "slow to learn" that makes me laugh out loud. Should anyone accuse me of being dumb, I can now shrug my shoulders and tell them, "It seems it runs in the family."
But the following excerpt nearly brought tears to my eyes. I hope that I can be remembered the same way that the author remembered the following ancestor…
"Uncle Thomas Boicourt, mother's brother, married Mary Ann Hamilton in 1828. He died April 8,1834, and now lives with her daughter, Mrs. Caleb Carver, near Moline, KAN. When she was young she was a beautiful young woman, full of human magnetism, and of an attractive disposition. She was a weaver by trade, wove all kinds of cloth, carpets, rugs, and ect. She would work busily all week and commit to memory three hundred Bible verses, and repeat them in Sunday School. The sunday school lasted all day then. She walked five miles to find a place to join church, then walked five miles to meeting every Sunday, and enjoyed meeting and the ten mile walk, and worked hard all week.
When she was a hundred years old, Mat 15, 1904, a big anniversary meeting was held in her honor, in the Methodist church, at Moline, Kan. Monay of her relatives, even to the fourth generation, were there, and several distinguished preachers. As the old lady came up the aisle, the large congregation arose, and sung the old, long meter doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow." She was given the seat to honor on the platform, with her children on either side. She electrified the congregation by reciting and singing the good old hymn "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound," then proceeded to relate her christian experience, sitting on a chair on the platform. Her voice was clear and distinct and rang out over that mass of upturned faces, eyes moistened. A voice from long, long ago, seemed to be heard, and an echo from the future was blending with it. At one time she got full of emotion, and sprang to her feet as if by magic, and extended her withered and trembling hands over the congregation, and with a face radiant and heavenly brightness, and a voice more than human. She said, "Children and beloved of the Lord, I have been in this good cause eighty-four years, and am not tired of it, and if I had a hundred more to spend I would give them all to the Lord, glory to His Holy name. Come on and let us all go to heaven together." It sent a thrill of religious enthusiasm through the large audience, such as no sermon had ever done. A melting feeling pervaded the whole congregation. The past and future seemed to be kissing each other, and heaven was drawing near. Hearts were touched, good impressions were made, and it was good to be there. Religion is made sweeter by such a life. Aunt Ann is still living, and in good health."
I feel as if I am beginning to experience that same enthusiasm where the past and future appear to kiss each other…when heaven draws near. I hope that the Lord will breathe onto us, so that when each of us raise our voices in His name, the sound of long ago and an echo of the future will be heard. May the heavens take note of us. May we fulfill our destiny. My will make history.