Friday, October 7, 2011

Where to Begin?

Looking over the pile of papers and photographs obtained during our last trip east to visit family, I realize the magnitude of such a task as finding any way to organize these things. There is much to say about Agnes Tully Stevens, my husband’s grandmother—and so much more to say about the many other branches of this Tully family tree.

I found myself asking the question: Where to start? And really, since “simple” is the best way to resolve most problems, the only answer I hear is:

Begin in the middle.

So, I found a couple photographs that represent the way most people might remember her: sitting with her hand on a keyboard, or standing among a group of friends at a festive occasion.

But my mind isn’t quite satisfied with such a simple answer. I want to dig into those roots—the essence of what made her who she was. That, however, will simply have to wait. My “bag” of goodies of her mementos includes too diverse a spread: everything from a piece of newsprint so old it practically crumbles in my hand obliterating the announcements inside, to a plain wrapper folded carefully and secured by a now-rusted straight pin which, released from its duty, reveals a curl of salt-and-pepper hair and the legend, “Uncle Ned’s hair.”

Uncle Ned?

I thought I knew quite a bit about this family’s history. I had researched it so thoroughly. I was a good student of Agnes’ son, Uncle Ed—I thought. But some of these details in letters, notebooks, cards and invitations, will take time to ferret out. There are so many people in this Tully tree that I’ve yet to meet.

I thought I was so far beyond this point…but I am only beginning.

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