I love when Saturday rolls around because it’s time to participate in Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge. (Yes, I do realize that this is Monday, but better late than never, as my mother always used to say.) This week’s challenge – to choose a relative who attended a family event with me and to go back in time to interview is an opportunity I wish could really happen.
I didn’t have to think but a moment to wish that I could return to Easter Sunday 1958 at my grandparents’ home in Needham, Massachusetts.
My Aunt Barbara had come down on the train from Massachusetts to New Jersey to bring me to my grandparents’ home for an Easter holiday visit.
Grandmother and Grandfather were there, along with Aunt Barbara and Aunt Carole and Uncle Cal and my baby cousin, Scott. However, two other people were there – Charles Chadwick and his mother, Pearl. I was told that Charles was my cousin, which I thought was odd because he was my mother’s age, and his mother was my Aunt Pearl, which I thought even odder because I had never remembered meeting her before and, even at six years old, I knew that aunts and uncles were sisters of brothers of my parents. This lady was OLD and she certainly wasn’t a sibling of either of my parents.
Many years later, I understood the relationship of these two people to me. Aunt Pearl was my grandfather’s aunt and Charles was his first cousin. They lived in Providence, Rhode Island, which was only about an hour’s drive from my grandparents’ home.
Aunt Pearl is the relative I would love to be able to interview for two reasons. First, she was the original owner of all the family photos which predated my grandfather’s time and which I am lucky enough to have in my possession for safekeeping until they pass to on to future generations. There are a few photos with unidentified people in them and Aunt Pearl could tell me who they all are.
Aunt Pearl, probably in the 1940s
Second, Aunt Pearl apparently loved to keep up with all the local goings-on, also known as gossip, and, even better, having been born in 1887, she knew and would remember not only my grandparents, but my great grandparents, my great great grandparents AND three of my great great great grandparents – her own grandparents – who were alive during her lifetime.
I would ask her about each and every relative – what they were like, what life was like growing up in the 19th century, where they traveled – and I know they did because they were not only ship builders, but master mariners – and how they spent their leisure time. I’d want to know about all the extended family, too, some of whom remain mysteries today.
Oh, and I’d ask her one other question.
Calais Academy Class of 1905
Who are all her other senior classmates in this picture? I have the names of all the graduates from her commencement exercises program, but only five of these young ladies and gentlemen have names matched to their faces.
Boy, oh boy, oh boy! I really, really wish time travel was possible!