... I am positive that I am not alone in saying, 'I wish that I could turn back time to talk to my parents and grandparents about their lives.' Right? Now, instead, I sometimes feel like I am walking in circles or into a dead end. Fortunately, I think that one dead end may have turned into a discovery.
Many years ago, my dad's brother gave to me a picture of a beautiful, young lady who he said came from Bavaria, Germany. Uncle told me that I was named after her, and as was my grandmother. I am a third Mary Catherine, spellings have changed slightly over the decades, but still the same sentimentality.
I am Mary Kathryn. My grandmother was named Mary Catherine. Her father, George, was born in America, but his father, Christian, immigrated to America in 1852 on the Orleans with his parents and two additional siblings.
Since I neglected to ask my dad about all of this, at least dad cut out newspaper articles and pictures, and stuck them in a photograph album. The date and the ship that they arrived on was what I was finding in passenger lists. However, a mystery had yet to be solved about the lovely, young lady who resides on my hallway wall.
Just last week I was digging further into the life of Christian, my great-great grandfather. He had two wives. The first wife I only knew as Marie, until I read an account that her middle name was Catharine, and that she was born in Bavaria. It was then that I had an, 'Ah-ha,' moment.
I had another clue. The picture is a daguerreotype. According to the birth and death dates of my mystery lady and the time period in which daguerreotypes were popular, I am fairly certain that this is my great-great grandmother.
Uncle was right, and I am ever thankful that he shared that with me. However, why, dad, didn't you tell me this story? Anyway, I feel now that this family has come to life for me.
I am a grandmother now with four grandsons. So far no granddaughters are in the future and that is ok. I will find someone to take care of my great-great grandmother's picture, and to learn the legacy of our family.
Currently, I am near completing the story about our daughter, Laura, who died from cancer 10 years ago, June 5, 2002. Her birthday was just a few days ago, May 30. She would have been 35 years old. Our grandsons will learn about who she was, what she meant to her brothers and friends while she was living, about her faith and hope, and what meant most to her when she was living.
Call me Nana, the storyteller.