Finding You

I looked everywhere, but I could not find my great-grandmother’s wedding ring. Sentimentality skates dangerously close to hoarding, too close for me to get overly involved with ‘things,’ but this was different. This is part of who I am.

Edward and Louisa Deaton, ca. who knows?

It’s a little sad that I don’t know more about these people, but they are my forbears, part of the genetic pool from which I sprang upon an unsuspecting world.

Louisa (called ‘Loo-eye-zer’) Deaton is my mother’s father’s mother. Say that three times real fast. She had eight children, a conservative number for turn-of-the-century Arkansas. You know you come from the impoverished, rural South when all the old family pictures are of frowning people standing in a dirt yard. Compared to the people in the rest of my old picture  collection, these two actually look uptown. I guess they were headed to church–or a funeral.

The realization hit me, something like a year ago, that I hadn’t seen the ring in a while. I was sure I had put it in an old, old jewelry box. I have two of them. Again, the history on these two objects is a mystery to me, as well.

I know, I KNOW I emptied BOTH jewelry boxes, went through old bags and purses, and anything else that might hold my little treasures, but nada. I grieved in my heart and moved on.

Sigh.

Look at them, the ghosts of country people past; look how disgusted and disappointed they are:

What’s up with all the white shoes? It must have been a thing. Apparently, bras were out of style.

Nah, they looked like that, anyway. Hey! I see some grass, there.

You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friends’ noses. No, that’s not how it goes. Wait, okay, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your family, hang on, you can’t pick your family . . .

Nevermind.

What I’m trying to say is, your family is your family. Love ’em or leave ’em, they’re a part of you, whether you like it, or not. Maybe they embarrass you. Maybe they don’t like you, very much. Maybe they wear white shoes and go freestyle. If you don’t love those people, you stand a giant chance of wandering around for the rest of your life, trying to figure out who you are. To me, that’s a lot of time wasted, time that could be spent loving and living and learning and giving. I made a little rhyme.

Of course, these people were long gone before I was even born, but I have pieces of them: keepsakes, stories, pictures, and DNA.

Two nights ago, I remembered the lost ring, so I thought I would look one more time. Guess what?

I don’t know how I overlooked it, but it was right there in that jewelry box, all along. Go figure. It’s a beat up little number, a poor woman’s ring, but it means the world to me. It’s thin and worn and misshapen from plowing, sewing, scrubbing, and raising eight children on practically nothing. It was a part of her, and she is a part of me. Sure, it’s just a ‘thing,’ but it connects me to who I am, and where I came from. I’m an American writer, straight from the dirt-yard, white-shoes, no-bra-wearing South.

Who are you?

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3 thoughts on “Finding You

  1. I am 2nd generation American. My fathers parents, his dad specifically, came from Italy. His mother’s mom came from Russia, may be part Polish, but we really do not know, but she immagrated as well. My paternal great-great grandfather was an orphan, so no real history beyond that, but, he had 4 sons with his wife. The eldest married my great grandmother, Maria. They had my grandfather John. Shortly thereafter he passed. As was the custom, the next in line married Maria. He too passed, the 3rd married her and drowned when the ship he was on sank as he was trying to come to America for a better life. Interestingly enough, everyone on that ship was buried on the Canary Islands and our last name, Canarina means little Canary bird. It was given to Cesar in the orphanage because he whistled like a Canary. So, brother number 4 married Maria, they have a daughter together, Liccia & do indeed make it to America.

    Liccia never married. My grandfather John married my grandmother Mary and they had two sons together, John Jr and my dad, Arnold. John never married, my dad had Me and then Kit. Kit has one son, Spencer.

    Throughout the history there has been only one person carrying out the bloodline and name…. until me (technically) as I have carried out the bloodline and then my adopted brother Charlie, he carries out the name, But Spencer is the only one to carry the name AND the bloodline. Should he ever decide to grow up and become a responsible human (he is 24), we may have some great offspring.

    Btw…. Maria was a wet nurse for a countess in her village, that is how she helped her household. Fascinating, yes?
    Can you imagine? Lol

    I too have many items from my grandma Mary and I treasure them. It connects me to all this fascination.

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