Monday, 29 January 2007
Aristocracy derives much of its strength from memory and ancestors should be remembered. I often think of mine, imagining their pride, their love, impatience and sometimes how aghast they must be at our sins and mistakes. One day I will be amongst them. The Chinese knew more than we imagine when they worshipped their ancestors - or at least respected them.
I want this to be a memory of our ancestors, a memory that might grow as others in the family chip in and share what they remember. Different eyes see different things.
All our ‘stories’ were told by the fire, sometimes told while bread was toasting on an old, extendable fork. However long you extended it, the fire always seemed to burn your hand before the toast was done.
Neighbours, family, friends would drop in and we would listen - sometimes under the table when we were feeling shy, or involved in a dark and tortuous quest involving goblins, secret tunnels, later Germans. (By ‘we’ I refer of course to me and my brother. There was never enough room for our parents)
Our families now are scattered like dandelion seeds, prolific and geographically adventurous. ‘Stories’ are no longer told and names are without faces.
This is just one branch of the story and I am blogging it:
a) Because I want to write more than about myself (though I’m sure I’ll figure quite prominently) and because it’s the most efficient way for others to contribute how they remember things.
b) I’ll be writing for strangers, as anonymous as any later descendents, but with none of their interest in the doings of the Parry’s and Keytons, the Macdonalds, Thomas’s and Henrys, and God knows who else. So goodbye self indulgence and hello the discipline of keeping the story going and as interesting as I can make it.
c) My niece, ‘the doctor’ (she comes along much later in the story) is already working on a family tree. This might give her stories and pictures that she can add to it…fruit for the tree.
For me, the story begins with Sergeant John Keyton, pictured above.