Our Ancestors Had Dreams
I’ve been working on ancestry for a while. It seems that my life has more depth and fullness as a result of learning a little about those who came before me. And, I was struck with the idea that who I am has been influenced by my ancestors’ dreams.
My father’s side of the family came from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I can trace that family back all the way to the Revolution in those areas. My great-grandfather decided to bring his family to the West Coast, despite the fact that his family, back several generations, had lived in the East. Perhaps he was following his dream for a better life in a place he saw as having lots of opportunities.
I was reminded of that this last weekend when my sister and I met my three sons and my grandson at the Gamble House in Pasadena. It is an example of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the American Craftsman style of architecture. The architects Greene and Greene designed and built it in 1908-09. This is significant to me, as my grandfather worked in carpentry in those times, and worked on some Greene and Greene projects. Perhaps my great-grandfather found his dreams fulfilled when he was able to find work for himself and his sons in California.
My mother’s family came from South Carolina. I can trace parts of this family back to the Revolution, too. But my mother and father didn’t meet on the East coast, they met in Los Angeles. My grandfather, on my mother’s side, moved his family out by train from South Carolina to Los Angeles in 1912. He, too, had dreams for a better life for his family, and that dream lead him to California.
Their Dreams Influenced Future Generations
I mention about how both families had longtime roots on the East Coast. But neither family ever returned there. They made California their home and worked and stayed. As a result of their dreams, their families stayed, too. I am glad they acted on their dreams.
My dreams were not for going to a different place, they were for getting an education. I, fortunately, was able to do that. My husband had that dream, too. Our dreams passed on to our children, who also went on to higher education. Now, they have other dreams. Perhaps their dreams will influence future generations.
We are not disconnected from what came before, or what will come in the future. When I think about all those who came before us, it reminds me that I have responsibility. I believe that my responsibility, and that of adults everywhere, is to pass on opportunity and hope to help fill the dreams of those generations yet to come.