Essays on just about anything
Essays on just about anything
Have you ever met someone and felt you knew them most of your life? That's the way it was with Carl and Norm in Petersburg West Virginia, and it's sure the way it was meeting Pat Vaseska In Waterloo. My partner doesn’t altogether trust my interest in family. "These people really don't know you", he insists. And yet to me there is a leap I make, and people who share an interest in these old bloodlines are close to my heart pretty much without reservation. I suppose it's something to be on guard about. There surely are other ways in which I'm naïve and have allowed myself to be used. Not in these cases, though.
Carl and I have been sending one another email for a very long time. He lives right in the area where those old Imans hit the hills right after the Revolution, and where lots of Imans have persisted through the ages. There was lots he didn't know and came to learn from my snooping in libraries and fielding correspondence with far flung students of the clan. It meant a lot to he and Sharron that we'd come to West Virginia. He wanted very much to have us meet Paul, and to be with us on a trip of discovery. Something in me resist mightily others wanting to give, and yet I'd love to have spent a week and maybe more. I felt very much at home with Carl, Sharron, and Carla.
It's the same with Pat Vaseska. She' s got a glint in her eyes you know right off to be full of devilment and troublemaking of the most delightful sort. She relishes being different and getting things done. She supports the local historical and genealogical groups, volunteers endless hours to transcribe old records for them, and raises hell with old farmers known to plow graves just to expand their cornfields. Pat had trusted me long ago and sent a huge envelope full of stray clipping, providing a challenge to sort out dates and persons from all kinds of citations for Imans and Eymans over the years in Illinois. That was great, since Illinois was "down the road" of history from the Iman settlers I'd been trying to roust out of the historical records for Hardy, an uphill county of an area that later became West Virginia.
Pat and her sister Phyllis have long been on the hunt for the old Eyman bones. They were involved in refurbishing the old Miles Eagle Cliffs burial groups where those settlers from American Bottom stuck their dead. It was a time when most were buried in family plots on farms, but not along the side of the Mississippi where the periodic floods were likely to float caskets right out of the ground. Kids and vandals have done their work over the years to trash the site, including making a mess out of the mausoleum out on a grand ledge overlooking the huge expanse of the bottoms along the Mississippi river plain. Recently they've found a family plot at the nearby old village site of Hamburg destroyed by a farmer and are working to reconstruct what may be gravesites the likes of Whitesides, Imans, and Eymans. It feels to great to be part of a family where there is some caring. Here's another place I could feel very much at home digging through records and trying to understand the past.