By Bob Ferris
Tides ebb and flow. A little more than three years ago there were four males in my line with the last name Ferris and now with the recent passing of my older brother William Ramsay Ferris Jr. there is just one: Me. I am wrestling with how I feel about this and it is more complicated than simple loss.
|From 2014 with my father and brother in the last photo of all three of us.|
My father, uncle, brother, and I were dropped from similar genetic molds, but we differed in beliefs, experience, education, and interests. We did hunt and fish together and we four also held tight to history and family both current and long past, but we were literally and figuratively all over the map.
We were all also named for those in our Morris and Ramsay lines which adds another onion skin to this complex, because my older brother was also the keeper of much in terms of family history and memorabilia. This will come to me and I have no children myself and limited space in my retirement downsizing to accommodate walls, bookshelves, file cabinets, or other functional equivalents of family museums.
|The garage office I am building for writing and perhaps processing what material might come.|
There are reasons why these roots mean less. For instance, my father and uncle were born in New York state, my brother in Florida, and I started life in California yet my father passed in Annapolis, my uncle in Atlanta, and my brother in San Jose while I now live in Eugene. Yes, my two sisters and my mother live in Maryland and Virginia near where many of our lineages landed in the 1600's, but all three of them where born in California. Moreover, my wife and I have lived in Eugene for six years but we have moved seven times in our nearly fifteen years of life together. In short, we were once a family of trees that now more resemble tumbleweeds.
I bemoan the fact that my nieces and nephews seem to care little about things genealogical or family history, but I suspect that it is hard to truly appreciate family trees and roots when we are rarely anchored to a hometown and are so constantly moving. I loved my grandfather and father, but it has been more than forty years since I visited my grandfather's grave in Palo Alto and I have only visited my father's once since his ashes were placed in Arlington. Neither neglect springs from apathy or paucity of feeling, I think of both most days. But tumbleweeds tumble...sadly.
|Me walking in the Warren, Vermont 4th of July parade with some of my "children" and the Ferris Wheel they built.|