I've spent the winter consumed by one story, one unwritten saga of a family who left Ireland and Scotland in the early 1800's and traveled to the U.S.A. to raise their family. Sadly, the record of their lives is found in cemetery after cemetery from County Donagal, Ireland to Pennsylvania, to Indiana, and on to the plains of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, and through the battles of the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and World War II. In between many many babies were born, but death was always standing nearby collecting mothers, babies, and soldiers.
|Mae Clendening Kneer|
Of those strong stalwart people who were able to put off death long enough to raise families the pictures show the joy in their lives when time was spent with family and friends. Pictures also show somber dark eyes starring into a camera searching my soul one hundred years later, wondering who will know them when they are gone.
|Pearl Clendening Weaver and my mother Helen.|
|1912 A Happy Easter to You.|
My grandmother, who's mother died when she was only 3 or 4 lived 75 years, but I was only 12 when she died in 1960. Her story, and that of her sister, Mae, who died in 1915 at age 34 leaving behind 3 young children, remained tucked away in a box until 1960. Then from 1960--89 the story lay hidden in a pair of hose in my mother's underwear drawer. After my mother died the story came to me, and once again lay buried in a plastic tub in my basement.
One day last fall while writing a different family story I received a phone call that my nearest cousin by birth, Thomas, was in the hospital with a possible heart attack. We had already buried our youngest cousin, Gary, and all of our parents. My heart raced, and I knew I had to tell my family's story, our story, their story. Follow along in the months to come as I share "Bits and Pieces" of our journey.
Letty (Clendening) Stapp Watt