Monday, February 25, 2008

Family Leends, Myths and Lore

Those of you who are regular readers know of my respect and admiration of Dr Yeagley. Part of being a semi public figure is dealing with insane obsessed types. Many of us have had this experience first hand. I have had a blog that called me a Nazi and pedophile. Amazingly, I have been called an anti-semite because I flipped a Kahanist clown off and I have been called gay. Some imbeciles have speculated I have commited murder. The last one is amusing as a person who said this venerates a genocidal war criminal (Trotsky) who should be compared to Sadam Hussein.

Dr Yeagley has always faced a series of absurd charges. Some of them are in the range of super market Tabloid fare such as he had plastic surgery and uses cosmetics to enhance his ethnic appearance. The latest bit is a scandalous diatribe that claims he was adopted. It is a sad day when a man has to take out his life story like a dog at a kennel club.

All of us have family legends and I want to ask each of us to think about what can be proven and what can not. The fact that it can not does not make it untrue. I picked out my grandmother's life. I can not prove she was the wayward daughter of a Rabbi in Lvov. Those records are long since destroyed in war. I can not prove she scaled the wall of the hospital with her boyfriend to seek her blessing as her mother lay dying of the Flu of 1918. I can not prove she took her brother's visa to America and claimed her middle name was the feminine version of her brother's to get in. I can not prove she worked in a sweat shop and saved her money to buy boat fare for her future husband whom her family loathed. I can not prove her husband ran off with the cleaning woman decades later. I can prove my grandmother entered Elis Island. I can prove she married someone and had two children. I can prove she divorced this person in the early 60's.
I can only say that she lived the next 40 years and never said a single bad word about her wayward husband. For her he was a man she once loved and was the father of her children. To bad mouth him would be hurtful to her children and thus she never did it.

Her husband reappeared slightly before death asking forgiveness. She would not meet with him as the matter was closed, her son did the same. My mother visited her father on his death bed and asked Why?? There was never any hope of an answer, but again this is all unproveable.

My grandmother's brother told a slightly different version of the tale. He was a bitter man who never quite recovered from the Holocaust. In that version my grandmother knew her husband was unfaithful and told him to leave. He asked to return a few times and stopped asking.

All of us should wonder what can we prove and what is legend. The fact that we can not prove something does not make it untrue. I wonder how each of us will be viewed by our kin when we become legends. The only one who this does not apply to is the Great Gasmasked Patriot who is larger than most legends allready.

Beamish in 08


Farmer John said...

Most of the really great truths cannot be proven and many of the things we take for granted as being true are based upon the purest falsehoods....except the greatness of the man behing the gasmask, of course.

Ducky's Here said...

If you have some basic information about your relatives, Beak you might contact a genealogist.

Lot of roots being researched these days.

beakerkin said...


The researchers can not verify legends. There are limits to what can be verified.

The entire episode of my Uncle's travels in the Holocaust and after is lost and in the realm of legend. In fairness he wanted his experiences to remain unspoken.

We can only verify the basics and not much more. Even if the record existed they would explain very little of the lore and romance.

Daniel Owen said...

Going around winding-up lefties is fun, but gets boring fast. There are only so many jokes you can make about Trotsky and icepicks, or Castro and cigars, or Che and dolphin sex...

-- best wishes from an extremist that isn't on the left or the right, just likes walking forward

Jungle Mom said...

I enjoyed this very much. My own grand mother was a full blood Cherokee. I can not prove it either, except my dad still sings the songs she sang to him as an infant in the language. She was born at home as was he.
We are doing some DNA testing now on my father.
But... people see my red hair and blue eyes and do not believe I am Cherokee.
family legends are the most interesting!

QunQat said...

I need to prove I grew up in a Trailer Park??