Monday, March 1, 2010

Can You Yell at your Dead Relatives?

I set a goal to write a chapter a day for each of the 10 children of the Copeland family of Montgomery County, KS. Sometimes, I was on schedule; other times I got distracted, as when I got pictures of Arch's paintings from Melvin, got photos from new relatives Linda and Taina, got tintype scans of Samuel from Megan, and got leads on Beulah's children.

I have completed the chapters for Samuel, Austin, Clarissa, Epps, and Arch. Today I tackle my grandfather William Quincy Copeland.

I want to yell at him and at my Dad. Why?

I have issues with my Grandfather. Why did he have to leave Kansas? Why didn't he return to Kansas after his wife died? Why didn't he remarry? Why did he live such a hard life and make his remaining sons - my Dad and his brother Don - live that same hard life? Does he know what happened to all the family momentoes and 'treasures' that his wife Agnes brought from Kansas? And what happened to everything after he died?

I have issues with my Dad. Why didn't he ever tell me about his family? I asked him about a family tree and he only gave me his parents name. I heard from my Mom that there was an Uncle Arch and an Aunt Ivella, but nothing of his 9 other aunts and uncles! He had a chance to explain once, when my brother was born. One of his naming suggestions was Samuel Austin. He never said that those were the names of his uncles.

I am so mad! I don't know what I will write about. How silly to be mad at my Grandfather William who has been dead since 1955 and my father who has been dead since 1972!

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1 Comments:

At March 1, 2010 at 1:40 PM , Blogger Catherine said...

I don't think it's silly at all. You're just voicing your frustration at your grandfather and father for not telling you about the aspects of their lives that you yearn to know...and, in many cases, have had to discover after hours of grueling searching.
Your anger and frustration are a reflection of how deeply you are into this project.

Also part of your frustration concerning your dad is that you didn't know he would die so soon and didn't know the questions you would later want to ask.

 

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