From The Blog Propeller: Historians carefully document the little things about notable people, like what brand of breakfast cereal they prefer, so that future generations will have the benefit of knowing as many intimate details about that person as possible. But most of us know very little, if anything, about the generations of our families that preceded our grandparents. Oh, sure, we may have a childhood memory of a great grandparent and a copy of the genealogy our Great Aunt Bessie wrote sitting in a file somewhere…but what do we actually know of all those begetters of ours?
HRH the son has always been proud of where he came from, i.e. his Dad being British and me being a Filipina. On his 23rd birthday, our present to him was to have a DNA test which could tell him exactly his roots. OK, the Britishness and Filipino-ess are obvious. He also found some percentages of being Spanish, Polynesian, Malay, Chinese (from my side), as well as Lithuanian, Scandinavian, Irish, Viking, south European (from Him Indoors’ side). He was really amazed knowing his roots!
The Captain and the Teacher. He was a Captain of the Ship from a Spanish lineage. Tall, dark and handsome, he always had a pipe on his mouth. She was a short, native Filipina, with big brown eyes, flat nose, and long wavy hair. She was one of the first teachers graduated under the Americans. They met, fell in love and got married. They had many children, my mother being the second to the youngest. They called each other “dear” until the end of their lives. He loved reading; he wrote the meaning of some words at the side of the books he read. She was a good business woman, bought some cloth materials in Quezon and sold them in Marinduque. He died of Parkinson’s disease; she followed after 6 months, perhaps from a broken heart… My grandparents’ story.
The Seven Sages
by William Butler Yeats
The First. My great-grandfather spoke to Edmund Burke
In Grattan’s house.
The Second. My great-grandfather shared
A pot-house bench with Oliver Goldsmith once.
The Third. My great-grandfather’s father talked of music,
Drank tar-water with the Bishop of Cloyne.
The Fourth. But mine saw Stella once.
The Fifth. Whence came our thought?
The Sixth. From four great minds that hated Whiggery.
The Fifth. Burke was a Whig.
The Sixth. Whether they knew or not,
Goldsmith and Burke, Swift and the Bishop of Cloyne
All hated Whiggery; but what is Whiggery?
A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind
That never looked out of the eye of a saint
Or out of drunkard’s eye.
The Seventh. All’s Whiggery now,
But we old men are massed against the world.
The First. American colonies, Ireland, France and India
Harried, and Burke’s great melody against it.
The Second. Oliver Goldsmith sang what he had seen,
Roads full of beggars, cattle in the fields,
But never saw the trefoil stained with blood,
The avenging leaf those fields raised up against it.
The Fourth. The tomb of Swift wears it away.
The Third. A voice
Soft as the rustle of a reed from Cloyne
That gathers volume; now a thunder-clap.
The Sixtb. What schooling had these four?
The Seventh. They walked the roads
Mimicking what they heard, as children mimic;
They understood that wisdom comes of beggary.