Moving On

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Mary Anne Zak

Mary Anne Zak

Packing cartons, I think of millions of people who moved across half-continents and full oceans taking not cartons, but manageable bundles or single pieces of hand luggage.

What did they leave behind?

What would they long to have brought?

If they brought anything, it is now among our must- keeps. Some items may have great age, the greater the better. We meditate on the aging which makes material things precious even though we live in a culture that has not always valued aging in people.

We call some must-haves heirlooms, their ancestral history endearing them to us. They belonged to forbears and relatives we wish we had known. Or known better. Many acquired reverence for such people and things as we aged ourselves.

Many of us wish we had asked our parents or grandparents more questions. Or had talked with them more if we knew them at all. Or had written or answered more letters. An aunt of mine saved every letter she could salvage from three generations.

My aunt had also salvaged letters from elder relatives in Ireland. Restored and transcribed, the letters will inform family history I hope to write.

The history will be for my granddaughters and their descendants whose aggregate ancestors came from various parts of Europe. And by the time their descendants read the history, perhaps their ancestors will have come from across the world.

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