A Little History

 A family tree is more than names on paper, it’s a collection of stories, a saga of generations. Who were these people? What did they do? How did they live? I religiously watch Henry’s Louis Gates’ Finding Your Roots on PBS.  I’m fascinated by genealogy. I adored the family sagas of Alex Haley’s Roots (the book & the movie) and Lalita Tademy’s Cane River. Some folks say,”The past is the past, what’s the use? What good does it do?” And I say, can you imagine finding out that a distant relative, an ancestor, shared your passion for writing, inventing or business? What could you learn from their successes… or failures? It might change your outlook, give you a little get up and go. My maternal great grandfather was a man named James “March of Dimes” Jones. He raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the March of Dimes over the course of thirty years. As a kid, I’d heard stories about him, saw pictures, even traveled the street named for him in Florence, SC. But I never realized the impact of his legacy until my husband recently found newspaper articles, photos, and a book (March of Dimes by David W. Rose) highlighting his efforts. I know that his generous spirit and philanthropic vision has lived on in the lives of his descendants and his story is a gift to future generations. My interest has been piqued. I want to know, I want my children and grandchildren to know the amazing cast of characters that make up their history, the good (inspirations) and the bad (cautionary tales). What’s the big deal about history? I wonder if the Rockefellers ever asked that question.

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