At least in the information that I know from one side of my family, I would bet that there would be centuries of my ancestors described as ‘melancholic,’ but being as there is a least of century of lawyers, artists and teachers, maybe they would be described as ‘intelligent’ or ‘creative’ or ‘kind’ as well. If my siblings and I also share these traits, is it because of genealogy?
People are fascinated by the historical figures we find in our families, but I’ve always been as equally fascinated by the real, nonfamous people. Was my great-grandmother who passed days before I was born as mean as they said? Could she have been ill, or in constant pain? What could have happened in a lifetime to be described after death in just one word – mean?
And here’s another one – when a birth relative was talking about some pictures found, they dismissed the one picture I was most interested in. “Who is this woman rakishly wearing the cute hat?” “Oh, she doesn’t matter, she never got married or had kids. Now this person is interesting….”
My heart went out to this unknown relative who had no value because she didn’t take the traditional path. What exactly is the story behind this woman who bucked the traditional societal roles of the time to remain unmarried and childless?
I realize that life is short, but I also feel that life is really long too. It’s strange how it can be both at the exact same time. Decades can pass quickly, but a half hour can seem endless.
How much are we like our ancestors? How much are we like our birth-relatives? It seems clear to me that many personality traits run in families, but it’s outside factors that keep us from repeating the same tales. Or, it’s possible, that maybe we do repeat the same tales over and over again, but in different environments with different choices available.
What traits do you share with your ancestors? Would you be proud to be like them?
When we die – will we be summed up in one word?