Before my Uncle Calvin lost his sight, he had this gift, he could scan an old picture and the faces on it – determining in short order, who the people were and how they fit into the family.
“Ya… Dem our Aunt Cora peoples, my Daddy sister…”
“Yeah, that’s Aunt Gladys, Estelle and them… when we..”My Uncle would always pause briefly before pivoting into family history…
Early on in my genealogy research, I wrestled with the value of my efforts fed by this spirit of skepticism which manifested itself in a series of people, but there was one person (a family member) who was more virulent than all of the others.
They would tell me in waves of passive aggressiveness that shielded their true intent – but one day the truth revealed itself.
“You are the only person that cares about this family shit, you won’t ever find anyone that cares much about this as you. Give this shit a rest.”Those obstacles in our path often smile in our face…
And I thought to myself.
“Damn, they are right, this is some bullshit.”Those doubts would often creep up.
And I began the pivot toward closing up my genealogy effort to focus on more substantive things.
Like whenever I said that I wasn’t going to do something on the behalf of my Ancestors.
The Universe said…
“Naw pardner. We ain’t done yet…”It would happen so often that coincidence couldn’t pass the muster…
My orbit began to intersect with a handful of family members, some whose acquaintance that I had never made up to this point.
Who like me, were led down this path of discovery, guided by a sense of purpose to our Ancestors that they were unable to shake.
When our paths crossed, despite being in different stages of our research – our blind spots soon were exposed to the light – and we rejoiced at being in the presence of another soul who shared the passion of the Ancients – we were finally understood, justified even.
For example, I met my cousins Bobette, Stephi, Debra and Andrea in this fashion – and in all of them I bore witness to…
The tenacity, the power and selflessness to family that I saw in my Elders – was present in them too and I marveled as these were the people, my people who I was told that…
I would never find.
“My Elders taught me…”There is no air in the box of conformity.
We spoke of oral histories that made their way onto pages and marveled at the power that our words brought forth – something that began to ripple throughout the family collective.
The same fealty to family, those stories that served to define our folk, echoed loudly in all of us….
We all agreed that the Ancestors are busy and resolved to keep the torch burning.
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