Sunday, March 5, 2017
From the Past to the Present
Alright, I admit it: sometimes it is just hard to concentrate enough to do that family history research. And the handy excuses about spring fever are not the only ones to displace an activity which, frankly, I love. Sometimes, Life has a way of moving along with bumps and fits and rocky starts. Today was one of those days that jerked me away from the past and landed me right in the middle of an uncomfortable present.
Perhaps I've already been primed for this change. Our family has spent the past week trying to be available companions for friends who just passed the one year anniversary of the death of someone in their family. Anniversaries like that are hard to face, no matter how much everyone else says Time heals all.
Right on the heels of that, I received a message that one of my own close family members just got some bad news following an unexpected trip to the emergency room. Since we live on opposite coasts of a three thousand mile wide continent, you can be sure my nervous energy got displaced into mindless, repetitious activities—anything to keep occupied while waiting for the phone call with answers. Time can weigh awfully heavy during waiting periods like that.
When the call finally came—more waiting for diagnostic results to be reviewed by overworked specialists—we talked about stuff that tangentially sounds like genealogy, mainly because it has to do with family, with genetics and with life. The kind of health histories that review which grandparent had which health problem. And how those propensities get passed down to some descendants but not others.
Face it: I take to genealogy like the air we breathe. It's the "water" I swim in. Yet, even those who love learning about our people in the past need to refresh their connections with our relatives in the present. Especially those who love the history of family past. After all, family is a great continuum linking us like a tag-team relay from those in our generation we know today, to those who remember relatives from bygone generations. If we connect to one part of that continuum, we can't help but connect to the rest of it.
Above: Photograph of the Anton Laskowski family of Brooklyn, New York, sometime before 1917. While some of the people in this picture are my direct ancestors, not all of them are people my family now can identify.