Thursday, June 2, 2016

Where I'm From...

In January, I started researching my family roots.  I have become so consumed with my search that I have not taken the time to do any writing or art work for months.   Those projects have been set aside. 

I have tried unsuccessfully to find a way to share the best of what I have found in my ancestry with my Georgia cousins.  We have a Family Reunion coming up in a week!   I spent most of the past two days trying to print what I have found.  I have finally decided that it is just about impossible to share that way because the family tree is like a real tree.  It branches out in all directions.  It is not linear.  And it's not about charts and names.  It's about real people with amazing stories.    

Native American Ancestry?

I cannot find any evidence of Native American ancestry and my DNA sample seems to match what I am finding in my search....100% European ancestry.   

This is a good way to get started:  sharing a photo of my paternal grandmother, Selma Swift, with three of her children. Closest to her are Howard and Agnes with Gladys standing behind her.  All three of these children have led long and productive lives, and they are still living.  I look forward to seeing them next week.    

This photo seems to support the story that Granny was of Cherokee Indian ancestry.  Doesn't she look like a proud Cherokee woman???   Many of my cousins and I have believed that we had that ancestry and though it is disappointing (and surprising) to think that we have been given the wrong information, the science proves that this is not true.  I don't have Cherokee DNA, but I have found many proud and intelligent people who are my ancestors.  We have ancestors who have touched the history of the world, so much more than I would have ever guessed and I can't wait to share all of that with them.

As an exercise in my Writing Group, I wrote this little poem from my perspective of growing up in the 50's.  Now that I have begun to research my roots, I realize that I am so much more than what is expressed in this poem.   I have much to share.  So hold on to your hats!  My Cawthon family is amazing!  And my Fairy Fort has now been stretched across an ocean and across many generations.

Where I'm From

 Paulette Whitehurst

 I am from Hand-Me-Downs and Making-Do,
from clotheslines filled with
cotton sheets and terrycloth towels
billowing against a cerulean sky.
From toddlers splashing in silvery galvanized
tubs filled with water from a green garden hose.

I am from front-porch-sitting beside
multicolored flower beds of zinnias,
marigolds, and roses with names
like “First Love” and “Climbing Mermaid;”
From neighbors who borrowed a cup of sugar or
the use of the avocado green telephone on the kitchen wall.

I am from buttermilk-and-cornbread on Saturday nights;
From plates piled high on Sunday
with fried chicken, speckled butter beans, and red ripe
tomatoes picked from backyard vines, from sugar cured
ham decorated with pineapple slices and cherries;
Better Crocker cakes with whipped icing.

I am from flowery wallpapered rooms with overstuffed sofas
and lamplight under fringed shades. I am from
country-music- harmonizing with albums on the Hi Fi;
Late night black-and-white movies with smiling dancers cavorting
Across the screen; sweeping soundtracks that picked me up
And transported me to a place of beauty. And possibility.

1 comment:

Tom Watson said...

What a delightful little story!

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