Posted by: deadmousediaries | March 1, 2014

News from the Path Valley Hotel – Episode #9 The Family Album

If you have skeletons in your closet, you may as well make them dance.”        George Bernard Shaw

Scoundrels and scallywags. Heroes and heartthrobs. Floozies and philanderers. Life would be such a snooze without that cast of characters we call family. I was very fortunate to have grown up in a loving, nuclear family with (extra insulation from a passel of  greats and grands as well) but no matter how strong, buttoned-up or high-brow the heritage, there are always stories to tell.

My fireplace mantle is now lined with freeze-framed moments of all the lives that have created mine. I love being reminded that everyone I have ever loved has been in this cabin at some point in time.

My most scandalous stories are a few generations removed or are rooted in second cousin-dom, but it’s all there: murder, suicide, madness, lost fortunes. And that’s just my side of the family. I can’t wait to hear the tales my kids will be telling their kids as they weave in all their dad’s legacy.

My favorite stories though, are always the ones where I can picture the people involved because I knew them. Even though its hard to imagine your grandfather as a young banty rooster in pursuit of his prize, you know he wasn’t born a grandfather when you find a photo. I uncovered one of him I never knew existed, tucked inside an old candy tin that had belonged to my grandmother.

“Pap”  must have been in his mid- 20s; I know he had  already lost a wife and a baby before “Nanny” entered the picture. He has his hands on his hips and that James Dean look of defiance on his face that seems incongruous to me based on the old softie I knew. On the back, my grandmother had written: Mason, Tuesday, July 7th.  I love  speculating on that cryptic message. Had they first met on Tuesday? Was the photo taken on a Tuesday? Was the note a reminder about a first date coming up on Tuesday? I like not having all the answers. After all, I’m a tale weaver, not a news reporter…MK



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