Don’t get all worried! I have no plans to go anywhere but…and this is a huge BUT…given all the familial drama of late, I have been thinking about things in terms of legacy.
What will my legacy be? What will my parent’s legacy be? What will my sibling’s legacy be?
I got on a genealogy kick a few years back and took it up again a few months ago because, and I am being honest here, I wanted to find ANY good relatives. Anyone that shared decent, noble, even altruistic traits so I could hold them up as a model. I needed a searchlight, a way out of the darkness I found myself in and if I found redemption hiding in my family tree then even better!
For the past two days, I have been devouring episodes of the PBS show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and have been riveted by the stories of the families that were close and loving and, completely empathetic towards the subjects that had less than wonderful family histories. The whole experience, both internally and externally from watching this show makes me wonder daily if I really know anything at all about my family of origin. Who are my DNA cell mates?
My older sister has always been the Keeper of the Tree in our family and I have looked to her for guidance, hints, names, dates and so on so that I may conduct my own investigation. My goal is to find the kind side of this sniping, hatchet sharpening crew and I want to do this for both my own peace of mind and as a way to show my daughter that, no, we aren’t all bad!
Dutifully, I have kept every picture, email, and handwritten lineage chart given to me and have added information I gathered myself, things found from pursuing Newspapers.com. Previously, I wrote about my paternal grandfather’s rise and fall within his chosen field of law enforcement and my own brother’s stint in jail but now, I am really concerned about patterns.
Are there any other criminals in the family? Those caught as well as those still hiding? After detailing the physical and mental abuse inflicted upon me by my father and sexual abuse by a brother the answer to that question is an absolute YES, but, are there more?
God, I hope not! Let this shitty legacy die here! And so, I will begin a journey to not only find the path my ancestors traveled but will also seek to discover how I differ from or favor them.
Please, please, please let some writers, actors, or artists fall out the family tree because I’m getting tired of feeling like I’m the oddball. Surely we have more dreamers to counter the proven assholes and in the same token, hopefully, there is evidence that those who strayed from the high road found their way back.
© 2019 L.A. Askew
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