Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Climbing My Family Tree


The climbing of my family tree
Began when I was only three.
My mother took the time to show
Me pictures of those long ago,
And I would gurgle with delight
Then dream of ancestors all night.

"What is she to me and you?'
I'd ask; Mum knew the answers, too.
And then as soon as I could write,
My notebook never far from sight,
I'd copy down the dates and names
Of my new friends within the frames.

No Enid Blyton held for me
Such joys as family history.
Pursuits of childhood, dolls and stuff,
Left me cold: it was enough
To find my forebears, trace each link,
Record them all in pen and ink.

It nearly drove my parents mad -
'Get some fresh air', exclaimed my Dad -
'Can't go out now', I'd loudly yell,
'I've just discovered Auntie Dell
Who was an actress, married thrice,
And did some things which weren't too nice'.

Each twig and twiglet of my tree
I added with unholy glee,
I never minded what I ate
And sat up until very late
Writing letters 'cross the miles
And working on my family files.

'The girl's obsessed', my teachers said,
'Something's gone wrong inside her head!'
But, deaf to all their protestations,
I continued with my revelations;
Past and present merged for me,
I lived among my ancestry.

When it came time for love and marriage,
I gladly pushed the baby carriage,
And sat with children on my knee,
Expounding on the family tree;
No fairy tales sent them to bed,
They learned their ancestry instead.

Speechless with profound delight,
I took to Internet on sight:
A brand new way of seeking cousins -
And I found them by the dozens.
E-mail was an inspiration,
Speeding up investigation.

The Past took over from the Present.
My spouse made comments far from pleasant.
'Oy!', I'd hear his plaintive shout
Finding I was not about:
'Where's yer mother? Gone to bed?'

Now I have a million files;
The family tree stretches for miles;
My Inbox full to overflowing,
My database just keeps on growing.
My ancestors, a happy throng,

Forever part of Life's sweet song.

by Rosemary Dixon-Smith

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