Sunday, April 06, 2008

in search of dorothy's roots

Every human being searches for his place in the universe. His unique position in the puzzle of existence. That yearning for meaning draws some of us to trace the outline of our family tree. Today Dorothy and I, her brother Bill and cousin Shirley spent the day in north west Arkansas looking at the old home places and cemeteries where her people lived their lives and were laid to rest. I listened to their family stories, looked at the gravestones that have been in place since before the Civil War, and imagined what life was like for people that lived in a different era than my own. We talked about how people lived in an almost cashless society, growing their own food and building their own houses, enduring sickness without modern medicine. People of that time were made of tougher stuff than those of later generations.

Look at the size of that oak tree. We drove through some pretty country

The Dunaway homestead near Wesley, AR. This house is over a hundred years old.

We were driving from the old house to the cemetery and encountered this washed out bridge. We were able to take a longer way around.

Dorothy, Shirley, and Bill look for family headstones.

This is the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR.

The municipal buildings of downtown Fayetteville can be seen in the background.

On the way home we stopped by the Sugar Hill Cemetery near Lincoln, AR.


Lorna said...

I do some sporadic work at a national historic site that is also a cemetery, and I find it has a way of keeping me in awe of mankind in general. Strangely, although I find history fascinating, I have no interest in my unmet ancestors---I have enough interesting contemporary family doing awesome things.

Dawn said...

Did she know the folks who were living in the old homestead?

wally said...

Dawn: The old house belonged to Dorothy's great grandfather. It's been vacant for decades. Most of the people in the area are related in some way to the family.

ml said...

This, to me, is the true meaning of the afterlife, the honoring of those who gave us life by remembering them and their line, and imagining their lives, their burdens, their strengths. And following their physical trails, from cemeteries to old homesteads. What a wonderful thing for spouses to do together!