Saturday, June 09, 2012

Only The Story Remains

 Reading back some genealogical info from the Nova Scotia side of the family, I came across a reference to the house they grew up in, and a comment about the mother of the boys, Charlie's wife, Clara (Crowell) Wyman. She apparently wrote poetry for a regional publication, and the person reminiscing about her recalled that she referred to the house across the street as 'the house of broken dreams."  One of her five boys had lived there and gotten divorced.  I don't know which of the five in the picture that refers to - I can eliminate only two.  This would have taken place at least sixty, and likely eighty years ago.  It doesn't matter much anymore, I guess.  The House of Broken Dreams.  Only the story remains.

Bethany referred to Derek Jeter's comments about statistics blogs, and I was reminded of a Bill James exercise from the early 90's, in which he looked at a player's lifetime stats and read the story:  the year he had a nagging injury, was DH more than half the time with many fewer stolen bases, traded that winter...The statistics are only important in telling the story, and we like statistics because they tell the story more accurately than memory might.  But in the end, only the story remains.

We went to the cemetery to plant flowers today.  Our regular route is evenly divided between stones for people we knew well and those who we knew little or not at all, yet are important for...well, I have no idea what for.  Donna Louise White, who would have been my oldest cousin, born 1951, died Christmas Eve that year.  Her father died Christmas Eve thirty years later - very tough on my Aunt Cynthia, I suspect.  Or Augusta Lindquist Nordstrom, my mother's grandmother, and the daughters that died young, at 19 and 29, Elin and Evelyn.  Not even my mother met these aunts, never mind anyone from my generation.  Augusta had a hard life.  She is buried quite far from her husband, who predeceased her by almost 30 years, leaving her with seven children - two others had already died.  I know fragments about her. 

Only the story remains.


james said...

And not even most of the story--just fragments.

Jan said...

My grandmother was the fourth of five children and only survivor. The others all died young: 12, 20, and 18, then one who was institutionalized at birth and didn't make it to his/her first birthday. We don't even know the gender, and it was only family hearsay that there was one at all. Then after my grandmother died we got a copy of her birth certificate and it listed her mother's live births and there was one extra. We still haven't been able to track it down. After losing all of her siblings, she lost one of her own children and her mother only a month or two apart. My mother was the only surviving one. Having lost my own brother and knowing how that hurt, I can't fathom how my grandmother managed to make it through it all. We have plenty of pictures of her brothers and sister, and my mom's sister, but that's all. I'm supposed to be a lot like my mom's sister, and I really wish I could have known her.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

My aunt lost a child to SIDS (Christmas Eve, as above), and her mother did also. Both were emotionally reserved in the extreme, and may not have talked about it more than once. But really - your oldest daughter loses a child and you have gone through it yourself - how can you not offer your heart, and weep?

Yet I cannot even imagine the conversation.

Ben Wyman said...

I bet you a dollar I could still make the trek through the cemetery to lay those flowers by heart, even without the guide I made and printed out on the IIGS.