Great memories

Ruth Dwyer was married long and happily to my father‘s cousin Jack Dwyer. Even though she was Pop’s cousin-in-law, we still called her Aunt Ruth. Jack was Uncle Jack too, as was his father, who was married to my grandma Searls’ sister Florence.

I pulled this picture of Ruth from this family shot here. She’s in this one too. (So are both Uncle Jacks. The younger is on the far right, shot before he grew his signature handlebar mustache). I’m sure I have a few shots from a family gathering a few years ago at Big Brook, my Aunt Grace’s place in New Jersey.

Ruth died two days ago, surrounded by her family, at age 85. (More details in her obituary.) I haven’t seen her, or any of her kids (my second cousins) much since the years I was growing up in New Jersey. Looking at these pictures, and remembering the good times, I regret the distance that grows as families fan out acrosss time and generations. (Ruth and Jack had six kids and ten grandkids.) I’m also glad that we’ve at least been able to catch up and hang out with Aunt Grace (now in Maine and going strong at 96) and other East Coast Searls-side family, since coming to live (at least during the school year) in Boston.

Tom Brokaw called Ruth and Jack’s “The Greatest Generation”. It might be a stretch to lay that label on any generation, but I agree with it. And now most of them are gone. My generation —  boomers the Greatest produced in abundance — are aging to become the next round of geezers walking the plank of life.

Life is short. That’s why it’s important to pause in the midst to remember those who live it well.

2 responses to “Great memories”

  1. Condolences to you and your family, Doc. I wish all of you a good time together when you gather, remember, cry and laugh.

    To your “we’re the next round of geezers” comment, I had a recent conversation with my mom (born in 32, so between greatest gen+boomers) wherein she talked of being among the oldest with the repository of family history/knowledge in her head — she wants to get it out of her head and passed on to us younger ‘uns.

    Mom’s comments came in response to a question I was asked about whether or not visiting relatives to record stories of family history is tantamount to a declaration you’re on your deathbed Last night I posted the Q & A — small Q, lots of A. It touches on remembrance and (possible) regret.

    BTW, in a past Carnival of Genealogy that I hosted on the same site, I linked to several of your posts where you remember family members, much in the same way you are doing here.

  2. About the “distance that grows as families fan out acrosss time and generations” — this is where I find social networks like Facebook to be invaluable. Of 134 Facebook friends, 64 are relatives. I’ve found second cousins in Canada that I haven’t seen since Expo 67. Cousins who are still in Ireland. And we’re all conversing like we haven’t in years. My 82-year-old dad is on the network, as is my 14-year-old daughter. Perhaps the distance of time and generations may lessen. It has for us.

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