December 16, 2016

More Memoir

I've heard from countless (read: "0") readers clamoring for more of my online blog memoir.  "Blog memoir" is like the zenith of self-absorption, no?  Where you not only have the gumption to start an unsolicited blog, but then you want to talk about yourself instead of say, politics or religion.

But enough hand-wringing, let's talk about me.

It all began with a randy Irish king. So my ancestry DNA report says; I'm related to the same pagan king as Harvard academic and beer summiteer Henry Louis Gates. Separated at birth us two.

And from the king so down through the ages, begets led to begats, all now enshrouded in the blessed obscurity of the pre-Internet, pre-Facebook era. But what is genealogy research but gossip for nerds? Life in the past lane.

The "Adam" in our family line was purportedly born in New Jersey around 1865, son of an Irishman and gifted with a name so common that he's nearly irrecoverable from a historical point of view. At some point he - my great-grandfather - practiced the blacksmith trade in St. Louis, but a black cloud hung 'round him, for he attracted cyclones and floods: first in 1896 in St. Louis and later in 1913 in Ohio.

Like Melchizedek, there are no birth nor death records. He presumably died in that flood but his body was never found, and I always slightly preferred an alternative history where he vamoosed and headed west for drier climes.

He took temperance pledges that never took; once he fall off an embankment after too much liquor but survived to tell the tale. He seemed larger than life in the single surviving photo, like Clark Gable crossed with Billy the Kid. Handlebar mustache and mischievous eyes. But he gave the world a scion, my grandfather, who inherited a larger-than-life aspect that at the time I took for granted...

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