Family Stories

I just got back from my family reunion and I’m running on about three hours’ sleep so this will be a short one.  My extended family has never been particularly close—I only have three first cousins and we have only seen each other a handful of times.  I didn’t meet my own godmother (my father’s cousin) until I was 23.  We do this family reunion every so often and it’s the only contact many of us have.  But I’m glad we do it.

Everyone’s always trying to arrange these things so they involve activities—trips to theme parks, shopping facilities, landmarks.  Me?  I wish we’d just sit around the whole time and talk.  Not only do I like getting to know them all, I like hearing the stories.  My grandmother’s generation are not getting younger and because I haven’t spent time with them I don’t know their stories.

Tonight I learned about how my great grandfather left home because he knew if he stayed he’d kill his step-father.  About how a great, great uncle finished a war with the local minister by tying said minister’s horse outside a notorious dance hall (so people would think he’d gone dancing).  About my great, great grandmother who loved to hunt but was so tiny her husband had to have a sawed off shotgun specially made for her (she also did beautiful needlework).  I also learned the truth about what happened at Roswell.  But no, I’m not telling.

I just wish I got to hear these stories more often.  It makes me kind of sad that I’m a folklorist, someone who spends her whole life studying stories, and I know so few of my own family’s stories.