The Mists of The Mayflower (2015Jul03)


Friday, July 03, 2015                                                9:31 PM

My mother’s side of the family boasts sea captains and pirates from New England and doctors from New York, even going as far back as Elder Brewster, a passenger on the Mayflower. Her mother created a circular genealogical chart—scans of pieces of which I’ve included in the video—the technique was so effective that a local Camden, ME reporter wrote an article about it back in the seventies.

Family trees are notoriously difficult to arrange due to the doubling effect—every one person has two parents, four grandparents, eight, sixteen, thirty-two great-great-great-grandparents. You can see how it’s hard to make the list fit without having ten-foot-wide paper. Gramma Duffy’s idea was to start with yourself in the center of a circle, then put your parents’ names on both halves of a thin ring outside that center circle. The next ring out will have their parents on the four quarters. Conveniently, the circles get concentrically bigger as you begin to need more room for all the names. Pretty tricky, huh?

Because of their heritage, my mother’s mother and her female ancestors had membership in the DAR, until my grandmother quit back in the thirties. She, like many other women, was following Eleanor Roosevelt’s lead in protesting the DAR’s refusal to allow Marion Anderson to perform a recital (for an integrated audience) at their Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Mrs. Roosevelt (and her husband) arranged to have Ms. Anderson perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday 1939. That began a tradition that culminated with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech on the same steps three decades later.

According to my research, The Daughters of the American Revolution is a far cry from the close-minded group that tussled with our most famous First Lady. Today they are inclusive and community-minded, as far as I know. But my mother and sister have never felt the urge to join. I can see why—it’s not very American to have a sense of entitlement because of your bloodline, even without the racism.

Today’s video was played on a Yamaha electric piano. My Yamaha has a Record function, so I needed some video to go with. I chose my mom’s family history because I’ve always meant to make a video of the records.

Also, here’s a video from yesterday that shows the popular hedges outside our kitchen window—apparently favored by the local bumblebees.

Oh, and here’s some video of me sight-reading Haydn—it’s pretty sloppy, but there you go.

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