Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stirring old bones

These are ten of the fourteen children of my great-grandfather and his second wife, with the purple Post-it that was on the back. Two have already died and two are yet to be born. My grandmother, Susan Elizabeth Redd (Butler) is the middle-sized girl with the small white collar with a white string bow. The older girl in the back is "Aunt Mishie", Artemesia Redd (Romney) the great-aunt of "Mitt" Romney. Effie, the baby in the high chair was the grandnother of my adored cousin, Randall. The small boy in the lower left corner is Wiley Redd, who wrote the most delightful autobiography of any of them. I tried to digitize a few of these old typescripts a couple of years ago. This was probably taken about the time they moved to Mexico to avoid the anti-polygamy laws in Utah. Susie, who was born in 1880, was about eleven at that time. I do not know whose writing this is, but I just found it in an envelope that says return to David (my brother) -- I wonder if he remembers I have it. I don't remember getting it! Pictures like this come out way too small on the blog, but a single click will make it somewhat larger. I did a bunch more scanning today, and installed the results in Dropbox (which I highly recommend!) so I can work with them from anywhere. I'll have them up on Flickr soon, with the other ancestral treats, where they can be viewed much larger.

And here they are all grown up, left to right, Hazel (not yet born in earlier picture) Susie (my grandmother) Jennie and Effie, the littlest gals in the other picture. Through Google Magic I just discovered how to make images display larger, and will try to enlarge these tomorrow, because they just don't work this small!

And tonight, just a little poetry:  From East Window; the Asian translations by W. S. Merwin.


The body of man is like a flicker of lightning
existing only to return to Nothingness
like the spring growth that shrivels in Autumn.
Waste no thought on the process, for it has no purpose,
coming and going like the dew.

Van Hanh, Eleventh Century, Vietnamese

Now the kind of Nothingness that has to be capitalized in the translation, is seriously nothing! These ancestors flickered and went out, but we have left these few traces. Good night!

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