History and Permanance
My Great-Grandfather, Frances Marion Holt, died in 1903. I, obviously, never met him and what I know of him is from his Civil War service record and what I have been able to glean from a few sources here and there. I do know from family records that he was illiterate and left no written records, no letters, no postcards, no writings behind. I can imagine conversations with him, but I have no real idea what he liked, what he thought, what he dreamed or what he hoped. I do know that he had a son, Charles Leonidas Holt
My maternal grandfather died in 1959, five years before I was born, and it wasn’t until I was well into my own 40’s that I knew much about him at all. I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with my Uncle Joe (of blessed memory) and talk about Grandpa. In the space of a few hours I learned more about who I am than I ever imagined came from a man I never met, who loved baseball, loved to laugh and who worked hard until an accident in a logging camp took away his ability to work. Which was why he and his family made their way to Oklahoma City where a few years later, broken and in pain, he passed away, leaving my Grandmother and her children to find their way in the world.
In both cases though, neither my maternal Grandfather or Great-Grandfather left behind anything in writing – certainly not that I have found. A few references to them here and there in family histories, one detailed account of his personality and an amazing afternoon spent with my Uncle Joe. That is the sum ToTaL of what I know of my Granddad and Great Granddad.
In a time when Americans in general seemed to write journals, letters, postcards, and even notes, the people I most wish to have done so, did not. Frances lived in southern Arkansas in 1862, and made his way in that summer to Missouri, where he joined the Union Army. As proud as I am of that fact, I do not know WHY he did it. I can guess, I can infer from local newspapers of the era and from the historical accounts of the Regiment and of many the many others who also did the same, but as for HIS reasons, I can only speculate.
I bring all of this up because my sister-in-law, Donna, was blogging the other day about her… well, lets just call it a mundane day. She was literally blogging about the music she was listening to (and I make no value judgments as to the music here) and wondering about the idea that time she spent enjoying herself was not really time wasted. She also mentioned her kids in the piece as she wrote about the times she listened to certain music and what thoughts it brought back to her memory.
Sometimes it seems like the internet, and blogs in particular, can be filled with the most trivial and mundane of thoughts and what passes for penmanship in the 21st Century. I think that is when I like it best.
Why, you may ask?
Someday, Ben and his children will sit around and wonder what I was like. What did I care about, what did I enjoy? What did I think about an issue or an idea? Between blogs, Facebook and eMails, all of which are permanent, Ben and his children and grandchildren will be allowed a view into who I am and was. They will never have to guess as to my reasons or my beliefs, they’ll have all of that at their fingertips through thousands of little bits of information and posts.
Like a Medical Log or Captains Log or even a pointed eared hobgoblin’s Science Officers Log, what I thought and felt will be here for them…