Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I was reading this over at Foolery, and I decided to borrow the idea and recall a few family legends here. I have no proof any of them are true, but I don't really care.

I am distantly related to Marry Todd Lincoln. Now you know where the crazy comes from.

I am also distantly related to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This is why I can't write - he got all the talent!

My grandfather burned down a yacht club that denied him membership. What can I say, he liked fire. So do I, but I never burned down anything that wasn't for roasting marshmallows over. He also allegedly burned a garbage scow. I have no idea why, but my mum's mum woke her up from a sound sleep, dragged her to the window, and demanded that mum look at what her father had done - and there was the burning scow on the water.

When he was a young man, my father allegedly sought vengeance on a mean old woman by feeding a pig a box of Ex-Lax and locking it into her house when she was away on vacation. Imagine what she returned to!

My grandmother was a pilot, but she had her pilot's license revoked when she landed on a reservoir on her float plane. It wasn't so much that she landed on the pond, although the state of Massachusetts frowns upon people landing planes on their drinking water...it's that she then went skinny dipping. Oh, and the reservoir was in full view of a highway. Yep.

My father worked on the Alvin-Lulu when I was a kid. That was a paired research vessel - ship and submarine - working for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The Alvin is still in use, but I don't know if the Lulu is. I still have the trivet he sent me when he (I believe) skippered the Lulu.

My mother has a little trinket box with a ship pictured on the lid - my great-grandfather's ship, the Hardibayou...Hardy Bayou...Hardi Bayou...dang, I grew up on boats named that and I've forgotten how to spell it! Anyway ,this ship on the box was used during one of the Great Wars for Coast Guard duty. My grandfather was in the Coast Guard for WWII (or was it WWI??). We come from sailing folks, and yet here we are, landlocked. What happened?

The diamond in my engagement ring has a history. It was my mother's ring, and before that belonged to my father's mother's family. According to family lore, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather was an archeologist. While with a group in Egypt, robbing studying tombs, they broke through a wall and found an inner chamber still intact. Not for long - it was customary, it seems to help one's self to whatever one found, and this group did. Piles of uncut gems were taken away, and my ancestor had the diamond and a number of sapphires cut at Tiffany's in New York, and set into a ring. Later, someone took the diamond out of that ring and made it into an engagement ring, the one I wore. I like the stone because it's old, got a history, and it isn't a flashy cut. It's a miner's cut, if you know about this stuff. When my father learned I was getting married, he brought me the original ring, sapphires intact. It's tiny, won't even go halfway down my pinky finger. I did ask him if I had both parts, would I end up with some funky Egyptian curse. He laughed, but never answered. Hmm. I don't wear a ring any more, but every now and then I take it out and stare at it, thinking about the journey that stone took.

There you have it, a few of my family's legends. Aren't you glad you clicked over here, now?


justjessie said...

Hey, I came here from Foolery. I can't believe you have so many stories like that in your family! Mine's boring in comparison. I was gonna write them, but now I think I won't. ;)

Kyddryn said...

Aww, don't do that!! I love reading about other folk's (or is that folks'?)families. Family histories are always cool! Plus, until recently my family was also famous for drinking (ahem) rather more than was necessary, which tends to fuel the weirdness.

Not that I'm advocating drunkenness, just saying it sure explains a lot.

foolery said...

Those are great, Kyddryn! I have a few more brewing, although they can't hold a candle to the Egypt one, or especially the skinny-dipping one.

My grandmother wrote down all of her oral stories, typed them up on individual sheets, photocopied them, and gave them in packets to each of her children and grandchildren for Christmas, tow years in a row. They are a treasure, and I've always wanted to publish them in some way, even if it's just as a blog page.

Kyddryn said...

I wish my grandparents had done that...I know my mum's mum was a pistol, but I have none of her stories - just the few from my mum's dad and my dad's mum. Untangle that!