Writing about family became an intention when I was about sixteen, when our family planned to move from the house where I was born, to Kalamazoo where my father worked. I thought that some day I might record the years we had lived in that house.
My mother died in the 1960s, having saved boxes of family materials, including journals, photographs, documents, news clippings, scrapbooks, letters and more. I intervened when I learned my father was throwing them out, lacking space to keep them, which is how they came into my possession. I have since added to this collection from other sources. The fact that I had been trusted with these items implied a responsibility to preserve and record these documents in a form that others could know and value as well.
Perhaps because I had been a rather quiet child, people trusted me to hear their stories. I became the walking repository of so many accounts of family, never written down. But as people gradually passed, I felt that soon their lives would be forgotten if no one recorded them. I felt the actual stories told by relatives to me were also an amazing legacy for others beside myself. In the 1990s, I wrote all I could remember of them before my memory began to fail with age. I was gratified to learn, as I matched my recollections with actual documents, that most of what I had recalled matched actual dates, and that I had made few mistakes about the timing of the events.
The title for this collection comes from a poem, The Cuckoo’s Child, written about 1976-78. It seemed that I was very different from my mother, as she was from hers, and as my daughter was from me. It was as if each of our generations were hatched from a species different than the previous one.
This project is especially dedicated to my descendants, grandchildren and relatives in our shared lineage. Even though our family has its dysfunctional characteristics, many people have families that are not unlike ours. My hope is that people outside our lineage can also find images, stories, and poems about family, which they can relate to.
Like so many families, our recent ancestors have experienced the passage of an agricultural way of life into this technological and computerized age. Some of the stories of these people are unique and tragic, while others are heroic and epic. My intention is to honor these people who have passed, and to empathize with their difficulties. Many experiences in our family were also the product of the culture and the times in which we lived, and as such, have much in common with experiences of other families in the previous century, and may have value for other readers beyond my own lineage.
When I learned to blog two years ago, it seemed blogging offered a wonderful way to publish this information and to make it accessible.
Originally I planned this blog to include a series of vintage montages using those photographs, information and my poetry based on memories and stories told to me by various relatives. It now seems appropriate to expand that original concept, to include many of the original photographs and documents. The poem title was transferred to the blog I began writing, to collect and share stories, pictures and poems about family in an attempt to record an era which already seems strange and archaic, in this fast-paced and rapidly evolving culture that characterizes our new millennium.
Notice of Copyright: Since the beginning stages of this project, I have acquired computer skills and equipment which allowed me to preserve family photographs and documents digitally, and in fact to restore the image quality so that in many cases the images I present on this blog are far more “readable” than the original materials. As an artist, I have also used my layout skills to present images and text in an organized way. I have Invested much time and expense to make this a quality project, which is why I am copyrighting this information, and asking that others respect this copyright, which means the information is not to be copied without my written permission, and my name must be retained on all pages (or copies of pages) I have created or restored. The work is not to be published in another format, without my permission or without attribution to my authorship.