Copy of a duplicate of the framed authentic picture of Latu.

Typically Actual Reality jumps out from the primary line of a Vita Brevis publish and slaps me with a “duh” second, though I believe “wander” is perhaps a slight understatement suggesting an absence of velocity or single tracks. My thoughts has been wandering by among the household tales as I attempt to determine how finest to protect them, missing any hope of documentation as proof. Such tales have a behavior of changing into altered, embellished, or denied by those that weren’t current on the first occasion as they’re handed by a number of generations. Missing any audio recordings of my household storytellers, I’ve determined to jot down down as many as I can as I’ve heard them or skilled them to create an “oral” historical past in print. I may document myself telling them, however I consider, even on this digital age, that paper will last more than the present expertise. (Carving in stone would possibly last more, however that’s far past my ambitions.) I started my wandering by tales and random titles:

The Shade Purple: My maternal grandfather Lorne McLeod (1868-1943) was born in a log cabin in Canada as one in all eleven youngsters. His spouse, grandmother Lula Atlant (Roberts) McLeod (1876-1958), seemed down on the McLeods and their humble beginnings, and didn’t like her mother-in-law Frances as nicely. When Frances died in 1918, she was embalmed and wearing a purple gown with an open casket. Doing her obligation, Lula stood subsequent to the casket till she observed that the embalming fluid had leaked and soaked Frances’ purple gown. That revolted Lula a lot that she refused to ever put on purple herself. (Discuss holding a grudge!)

Then I wandered into:

A Excellent Storm: My paternal uncle-by-marriage, Percy, was a real Maine character and storyteller, repeating his tales so usually that his grandchildren may recite them verbatim! He admitted in a single story that he had had a extremely good time at a celebration and stayed late although there was a heavy snowstorm that night time. Feeling “sleepy,” Percy simply pointed his horse towards house and “slept.” He awoke when the horse stopped transferring together with his nostril in opposition to his barn door. Percy by no means mentioned who put who to mattress that night time, if certainly a mattress was concerned.

My wandering slid into:

Slippery When Moist, or Satisfaction Comes Earlier than a Fall: I’ve one sibling, a positively historical older brother who grew up serving to Father and Grandfather on the farm. One in every of his obligations was to feed the pigs Father had put in in a nook of our storage, so Brother picked up the massive kettle filled with slops, a yummy, fairly liquid combination of who-knows-what that day, by its deal with. Filled with confidence and realizing he was doing a job nicely, he didn’t correctly negotiate the slippery icy slope resulting in the storage door. As he slipped, the arm holding the kettle started its stunning arc towards the sky, emptying the kettle because it reached its peak. Brother wound up carrying extra of the slops than the pigs obtained to eat. Sister (that may be me) nonetheless regrets not being prepared with a digital camera.

My thoughts then wandered into the ether:

Blithe Spirit: My paternal great-grandmother, Ellen Frances (Cony) (Church) Hayward (1863-1934, a/okay/a Nellie F. or F. Nellie, however by no means Ellen, simply to make issues fascinating), was a psychic medium who used a spirit information named Latu. Despite the fact that in her day all issues psychic had been a fad (however one carrying a stigma), she was all the time reluctant to make use of her present, and would achieve this just for household. On one event, the household requested Latu if they could have a picture of what he seemed like. He replied that, supplied with a clean floor, he would “ship” a picture of himself as he final appeared on Earth. A picture of a Native American man quickly appeared on the paper offered, notable for its lack of any type of marking, brush strokes, palette knife, pen, or pencil; nobody in my household has any type of artwork expertise or ability able to producing such a portrait.

I’ve examined the unique and might verify solely that it’s a flat, unmarked, non-photographic picture on paper. Now we have all the time believed that Latu (i.e., his portrait) will go the place it desires to go, so it presently resides with one other “acceptable” member of the family. Fortunately, my thoughts has wandered again to higher focus.

J.R.R. Tolkein mentioned “Not all those that wander are misplaced,” so I hope that my thoughts’s wanderings will stop the lack of among the household oral historical past, which supplies the household information some (ahem) “soul.”


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