This morning the texts are flying back and forth like a frenetic game of ping-pong. I wish I were there. I can imagine the scene if it was 20 years ago, and my parents would have let us miss school for the day and we’d be snuggled up to cocoa in paper cups and those long Styrofoam packages of pancakes from McDonalds, sitting on a curb on Market, excitement warding off the chill from San Francisco fog.
But today I am in Utah, wearing woolen socks and wondering what to make for dinner, what needs rescue from the deep freeze. My little brother though? He flew up from L.A for the day; he is there. Waiting for the victory parade of the San Francisco Giants to begin in a few hours. He is there to cheer on his team, our team—to foil each of those memories we have of sitting late nights at Candlestick, cold, hopeful, loyal; or summer afternoons, hot and sprawled out in the bleachers, the sun burning our thighs, my patience wearing thin seven innings into the second game of a double header, and no runs on the board.
The stories of my childhood are golden to me, and precious. (I can’t even think about baseball this morning without an ache swelling in my throat!) I find I am nostalgic about even the most prosaic moment, or amused by what once seemed such a teenage tragedy. I find myself turning back to these stories, my own stories: my childhood, my children’s babyhood, and sometimes even to the upbringing of my own parents, often. But beyond that? I’ve yet to find an interest.
Is it a matter of being self-centered? I do realize the world and my family existed long before I came into this body, but somehow I feel separate from the splotches and splatters—names and dates, letters and numbers—of a time that I can’t fathom, but appear on the family tree anyway.
Sure I have my brief musings over “Rose Bonacci” and how it is that she came to raise my mother as a child, and how she lovingly called her Glory. And I feel a tug in my heart when I see the fuzzy photographs of little Glory as a toddler, her overalls prim, her hair blunt. But I don’t seek anything beyond it being what it was. I don’t frantically dig, I don’t fill out a card, I don’t do anything to ensure that the proper temple work is done…
(And everyone tells me this is a waste. ‘Cause I kinda go to the temple a lot.)
I want it though. I want an awakening, I want my heart open, turning, flip-flopping between then and now and ever wondering if I am this way because of so-and-so, or if my feelings match those of a distant uncle, a cousin… People I do not know at all, or know intimately without realizing.
But how does it start? Does it really start with fuzzy records? Is that why it’s fun? The mystery? And then what? I see the old census, yellow even on my bright computer screen, but then the deciphering seems too difficult and I’m immediately weary and certain that the work is probably done anyway, so….
What compels you to do your genealogy? Has your heart turned? Why? How?