Culturally Anemic Part 2

    I've been reading about my paternal Scots-Irish heritage in a book written by James Webb, "Born Fighting." The author takes us back two thousand years and describes the various folk in what was to become Scotland, such as the Picts: the large-limbed, tattooed, red-haired madmen, as well as the Irish 'Scotti' hordes. (That'd be 'hordes,' McDonnell, not 'hores.' Whereas there was a bunch of intermarriages i.e., "Scots-Irish" you have taken it out of context - - again. Read the book.) I haven't read other books about the Scots-Irish yet, but in reading reviews about this book, I'm  encouraged to do so as I'm curious about my ancestral past on my father's side. I want a overall perspective of who these people were, and how it may or may not pertain to me.
    As I wrote in my earlier post, "Culturally Anemic," family culture nor history was discussed as I was growing up. Perhaps my father was wholly ignorant about his past too. The taped and transcribed interviews by him, and his brothers and sisters, that I've read and listened to suggest that family history wasn't something they talked nor inquired about. The only thing I learned for sure was that his immediate family, his parents and grandparents were from around Hagerstown, Maryland; that my father's father had been a police officer, for a short while, (he was let go because of his temper) in Hagerstown as well as worked for the railroad along the Erie Canal. 
    Dad said that his father had been riding the cowcatcher (where he wasn't supposed to be) when two trains collided head-on and miraculously, he wasn't hurt as bad as were so many others on the train. Another story Dad told, on tape, was that his grandfather had taken their horses up into the mountains to avoid their capture by Confederates known to be coming through the area. 
    My father had said he had ridden his bicycle down, "Bloody Lane," as a kid. I regret I never knew to ask him more about his own past when he was still of strong mind and memory; we could have explored it together.
    References to the past are scrawled in family bibles or entered in someone's family collection as snippets of note such as the entry: "Captain Charles. . . died with General Custer at The Battle of The Little Bighorn." Now that entry was interesting. I read about this Charlie fella, in a "True West" magazine, over forty-five years ago. It was an old, tattered, coffee cup-stained copy I found on a night stand at my aunt's house. In it, they said they could never trace Charlie's family, only that he was from 'back east,' and he never talked about them. 
    This Charlie was 'a guide,' of Custer's. How that differed from 'a scout,' I don't know, but he's just as dead out there on the battlefield. The one glaring fact is that he was not a captain. Now maybe Charlie boasted he was a captain, or the woman who posted the entry about a hundred years ago, thought he was or imagined him to be, these things can't be proven. So even though it is in someone's family history book it isn't in all the family's history books and likely that tidbit will slip through the cracks as well, except for being posted here. Who knows?
    My wife thinks it funny that I record movies - - and narrate them on occasion- - of my life here in northwestern Minnesota. I've kept journals; (some not as faithfully as others), and written essays about happenings in my life or simply told my daughter, my only child, the funnier episodes that she, in turn, can tell her family or friends as time goes on.
    And that, it does.


 

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