Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

May 27, 2012

Collecting from Another Person’s Life

Filed under: Genealogy — Janice @ 9:32 am

I just read an article in the New York Times about a men and things he has collected about his father’s life.  It’s a lot more than that, but I will leave it there and hope you go read the beautiful article for yourself.

I understand this man. He has this need to gather things from his father’s life. I have that same need for my parents’ lives, but also for my grandparents’ and the greats and on and on — even to uncles and aunts and cousins, at times.

This week I found myself looking at Sanborn maps of Wichita, Kansas, and old postcards of the Manhattan Hotel there. I was recreating the environment of 1897 when an uncle, many generations back, went there from Abilene, Texas, to bring a prisoner back to be tried in Taylor County. While he was there he shot and killed a man and was charged with murder. I wanted to see where the train station was in relation to the hotel, what stores were around the hotel. How far did he have to walk from the hotel to the jail. And then where was the courthouse where his case was tried later that year? I am truly yearning for time travel, but until that day, I am busy collecting the bits and pieces of someone else’s life.

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