Thursday, June 5, 2008


So, I’m officially on leave from Brain, Child. On one hand, I hate walking away, even for a little bit. But on the other hand, I have this genealogical obsession right now that I can’t quite satisfy while working on the magazine.

I’m keeping the project kind of vague on purpose (read: no idea what the shape of it is yet), but I’ve been talking to relatives about it. And, in my tiny, tiny infant stage of the project, this is the conclusion that I’ve come to: My great uncle Bill Crawford was a good, good man. When I was a kid, he’d call me and my sisters (and probably my cousins and distant cousins) on Christmas Eve. Santa had a definite Pittsburgh accent.

Everyone I’ve talked to so far mentions Uncle Bill—in a and you know who was the nicest guy you’ll ever meet? kind of way—although he doesn’t really have anything to do with my specific project. And I know this sounds schmaltzy, but the big takeaway for me, listening to Uncle Bill’s reputation, is that being kind and friendly and helpful really does matter. I bet he knew this when he was alive.

Here he is, having a good time with brother, sister-in-law, and my grandpap. Grandpap’s on the right, and Uncle Bill is next to him.

(For the record, I would be crazy if I had to live with that wallpaper.)

Speaking of relatives, if you’re a descendent of Adam Fisher and Clara Fisher, I’d love to talk to you. My email address is jennifer dot niesslein AT comcast dot net. Adam was born on Valentine’s Day, 1914 and served in the Army.


Dawn said...

You know, that wallpaper might be kinda rocking as a skirt.

Congratulations on moving forward in your efforts!! I'm looking forward to hearing more!!

jessica said...

Ooh, this sounds fascinating. I'm excited FOR you! I love this nascent stage; it's like blowing on a flame and watching it burn more brightly.

Also jealous of taking a leave. Seriously, I am over splitting my time into portions, when all I want to do is feed that flame.

jamie said...

You've heard of Oscar Wilde's apocryphal death bed statement?

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.

Good luck on the amorphous heritage project, and keep me in mind if there are any family road trips involved...

BarbaraCA said...

Good for you!

me said...

There's something magical about learning about your family. One summer I set out to hang pictures of my and my husbands grandparents on our wall so our children would see and ask about them regularly. It brought a great feeling to our home. (makes me teary just thinking about it) I wish you all the best in your searches, doors will open when you least expect them.