11 Feb One small step
My latest “mystery du jour” appears to be temporarily solved and in the most positive way! After doing my “due diligence” for a number of hours on ancestry.com, I was able to find the woman in question who had been begging me to call her – and as I dialed her number from my (safe) office phone, I held my breath in anticipation. Who would answer the other end of the phone? After several rings, I heard the sweetest little voice on the other end of the line – indeed a woman who could have been in her mid to late 80’s. I heard myself announce myself with my maiden name – something I had not done since before my marriage in 1972! Her joy was beyond belief! She had found a living relative (me) for her mother’s long lost and beloved cousin (my Dad!)
We chatted for ten minutes or so, exchanging information – she wanted to know all about me, my family – what ever happened to my Dad’s older brother Harold? I filled her in briefly about my Dad’s life – the good things! She gave me her email address and that of her brother – they are creating a book about my Dad’s family.
Is this like the old thing where you buy a VW bug and then you suddenly notice how many other bugs there are on the road? Since I’ve been bitten by the ancestry.com bug, everyone I’m meeting is collecting their family’s stories! Or is this really a genuine trend that is gaining strength, thanks in great part to ancestry?
A good friend sent me a flyer for a workshop that an African man was giving in Phoenicia, New York in which the participants would learn some of the traditions of his people regarding their worship of their ancestors. He feels that our ancestors are “knocking on the doors of our consciousness” trying to wake us up, and share their wisdom. When I heard this, I was profoundly touched. Is that what’s going on for me? Am I being summoned by forces greater than myself to perform this inquiry? It seems that the harder I try to focus on other things, the more I’m pulled deeply in to this search!
Being contacted by someone from my father’s side of the family has brought me closer in touch with him in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. He was a very difficult, complex person – I was his daughter (and he always claimed he really wanted a son). My whole life has been shaped around wanting to please him and gain his acceptance. After he passed on, in some ways I felt relieved – now I could “be myself” and not worry so much about what my Dad would think. And yet, as we all know, that internalized “dad” kept right on cracking the whip – those patterns of behavior developed over a lifetime are not so easily cast aside.
So now I find myself opening up the file folders of pictures I have of my Dad – and especially seeing the ones of him as a little boy softens my heart to him – his playful soul shines through. And many more conversations are yet to come, exploring the Neibauer family. When I looked on ancestry.com I was absolutely astonished to see how many of “us” there are. And silly me thought that I was the last one! This is actually a profound discovery for me! Who knows, this could warrant a road trip to North Dakota to reconnect with this lost region of my heart.
Signing off with much respect,
PS – the cute little guy holding the flag in the picture is my Dad, Rollin H. Neibauer. He was born on the 4th of July!