I am hanging out more and more with Mother these days. These are treasured times. We are beginning to dive into the treasure trove of family photos. We are finding just a few now. Maybe that is a good thing because it permits us to focus and not get too distracted. We could get very distracted.
As the time passes and the journey of discovery unfolds, I think we will find photos everywhere, tucked in corners all around, in Mom's house and in other places near and far. I see faces on these fragile old photos and I wonder:
- Who are you?
- In what time period did you live?
- What were your lives like?
- What was the rhythm and flow of your days?
- What were your challenges and triumphs?
- Why did you bring your dreams to this place?
- What were those things in life that had the greatest meaning to you?
- What was going on in that outer world that somehow shaped your life?
- Did time pass as fast then as it seems to now?
- Did you think about those generations that would follow, of which I am only a tiny part?
- Did you think about that great Tree of Life that would fan out into so many families as the sands of time would pass?
- Who are all those precious family members that somehow trace their lineage to you?
- What are those tender ways that bind your life to mine, of which I am so little aware?
- What was the legacy you left to those of us who follow?
- What are lessons you would have for us now?
- How could I not have thought so much of you before?
You walked in this county. You brought your hopes and your dreams here. You walked in some of the same places our feet now walk. You breathed the same air. You tilled the same soil. You drank the same water. You planted seeds here too. Perhaps we are not so different after all.
I look at these questions and I laugh. These are questions I too should address.
Photo above: Mother asked her Aunt Lula (Hattie Luella) Myers Hart to write the names on this photo. Aunt Lu, which is the name we called her, was in her 80s and inscribed on the back of the photo the names of those she had known in her always vigorous hand. This picture is of Elizabeth Cragg Hart and her children (seated, left to right: Emma Hart Wellborn, Elizabeth Cragg Hart, Charlotte Hart Mustoe; standing, left to right: Robert Nelson Hart, Richard W. Hart, William Hart). Elizabeth Cragg Hart was my Great Great Grandmother and Robert Nelson Hart was my Great Grandfather. I see that William Hart (Elizabeth's husband) died in 1890. Judging from the dress, I am assuming this picture was taken some time in the 1890s after he passed. Elizabeth passed in 1913.