Finding the Family

I lost whole centuries of my family when my recent Ancestry. Ca membership lapsed. Luckily I painstakingly recorded information on index cards.
The next task will be to reinstall the information on my new Ancestry. com tree and onto my brother’s “family” tree.

 

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Much of the walking through the past is in preparation for two events. On November 6th I will be in Yorkshire walking in the footsteps of my ancestors. I have stumbled upon video clips of life in West Yorkshire in 1940 and 1945 and feel more ready to experience the real deal.

I now know why I was obsessed with the Bronte’s and spent so much time seeking out British shows shot in the ocean of short grass on the Moors. My mother’s family resided there as far back as I can ascertain as the 1600’s.

My father’s family were Serbian and I have been pillaging on line sources to learn about the Covitchs. The Serbs underwent ethnic cleansing by the Croats and 700,000 of them were exterminated at the least accounting. Serbs perhaps riled up by the death purges, or by some other historic catastrophe even further back in their history went on to try to kill every Muslim they could and took a punitive swipe at dispensing death to all Croats that crossed their path.

I have always though of the chaotic, insane and violent nature of the males in my family as it worked its way out into my life.

Now I have a clearer view. When my grandfather left Serbia in 1911, he had already experienced horrors I can only imagine. He inflicted demeaning and soul destroying damage onto my father. And so it goes.

Our history is what happened to us. It is what happened to our ancestors. We carry it in our DNA. But luckily the Yorkshire part of me is beyond stubborn.
Yorkshire motto, “We shall do it whatever the opposition.”
It is why I come out swinging. It is why I could not be crushed.
I am learning so much that will appear in my biography which I begin in January. Disassociations is my working title.
As Aaron Sorkin said in a CBC interview recently, the getting ready to write is the important part of the work. I am making deep connections that start to provide me with clarity enough to both be “in” the memories and to be able to understand what happened.
Stay tuned.

Thanksgiving

Warm sun, flocks of moving birds through falling gold maple leaves, the sound of my neighbours’ toddlers and in my house the nine of us together.

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My son with his wife and new born baby; my daughter with her husband and three children gather. It is a small house but there is room for us comfortably. It has been a long time since we were all together. I moved to Kelowna. My daughter attended school in Prince George. My son moved to Edmonton to marry. My daughter and husband moved to Edmonton for work. Marriages failed. People got sick and close to death. Children were born. Life.
On the day of the feast, I cleaned and kept the tiny counter clear. And I love to clean. My daughter and her husband chopped, stirred, planned and created glorious smells of roasting turkey and various foods.
The three girls played outside with the neighbours son and they were running in the leaves, wielding sticks or swords or magic wands while following mysterious maps they had drawn.
The air was clear and the day warm. The colors intensely sharp. We all knew that this gathering had been a long time coming, had been a long time absent.

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The simple domestic ordinariness of it was spectacular. To watch my son and his wife so deeply in love with their daughter; to watch my dresden skinned blonde curled grand daughters playing happily; to see my daughter married for 25 years and her husband sneak a kiss was a miracle. There were only three of us once upon a time.

 

Natalyia Hanson 7 weeks old

Natalyia Hanson 7 weeks old

The three of us were exiled to a Northern town for my work and had no one we knew around us. I was frightened, in an unsettling environment and not confident I could rise to the challenge.
But somehow they survived me, the North, the operations and hospital stays and we are now nine.
Thanksgiving.