I’ve been researching my family tree for seven years now. I admit that that isn’t very far back—I haven’t even gotten to my own birth yet.

My genealogical origin story is called The Missing Chevalier. The commencement of the very rigid journey was precipitated by my lack of knowledge about my paternal maternal great-grandmother. But I didn’t even know my paternal grandma. When I found out she might still be alive I called a number I found on the internet and struck up a conversation with her. Solving most of the mysteries about my great-grandmother led me to also find mysteries about her husband, my great-grandfather. I solved a lot of those, too.

My maternal side

As far as my maternal grandparents, I saw them regularly as a child. No, I was the child. My grandma is the one who gave me my sweet teeth—all 24 of them. If you saw me smile you wouldn’t know that I’m missing eight teeth. It’s just that I got my father’s large teeth and my mother’s small jaw. My grandma almost always carried a glass bottle of Pepsi with a straw in it. I sometimes lived with my grandparents during the summer and I pollenated corn from sunrise to sunset.

In earlier times, we would sit around in the sun or play badminton. I’d help my grandma in either of her sprawling gardens. And I loved it when she needed me to climb up the crabapple trees and shake them to bring down the fruit for her.

Speaking of my maternal grandma, her younger sister died this past May. That was of course very sad for us. It hadn’t been that long since we had visited her on Vancouver Island. But she was ready. And it’s beautiful that she was able to enjoy her life for 100 years. It was very hard for my grandma to lose her younger sister. It must be very hard to be 102. Here’s a picture of my wonderful and beautiful grandma on her most recent birthday.

A recent picture of my 102 year-old grandmother

What are we up to now?

My house is crawling with children. I brush their twenties twice per day. That’s right—I have four more teeth than they do. In their face! The house is 114 years old and I very much enjoy researching the history. In 1940 there were ten people living in the house where I live. Now there are six and I’m responsible for providing for all of them.

At some point my house was converted into a triplex and then at some later point it was converted into the uniplex that we know and love today. In the crawlspace you can find empty liquor bottles from around 1910 with the caps still on them and baby possums, but I think you’re wrong—the baby possums probably didn’t drink the liquor.

Sometimes I go off on tangents. I meant to write about tangents, I mean genealogy. In genealogy we research our tangents, I mean family trees. But in genealogy it’s very difficult to stay on track. There are so many interesting people and events to discover. And you have to worry that if you don’t investigate something right now that you’ll forget about it. The task you set out to complete might be one that you’re more likely to remember later on compared to the new and exciting lead. One might even have to choose between two equally tantalizing tangents. I know that there are solutions for this.

In Summary

I mentioned my great-aunt earlier. She lived in a humane place called Vancouver Island. It’s a place where you might not have to suffer when you die. The United States, where I live, is a place where there’s a good chance that you’ll be in so much pain that your anxiety levels will go through the roof. Can you imagine trying to say goodbye to your loved ones in that state? It would be nice if we could have a few minutes of peace when we say goodbye.

Maybe more likely than the scenario with all of that pain is that you’ll be pumped up with a high dosage of opioids. In that case it may be hard to remember if you said goodbye or not. You might have a nice goodbye and then later alienate all of your family and friends by lashing out at them in a hallucinatory state. This is a pleasant blog post, isn’t it?

My point is that I want to live in a humane place. That’s it—I’m updating my will. Before my health rapidly deteriorates, if I haven’t managed to escape already I’m going to ask that my own money be used to move me to a place that’s humane.

I hope you and your loved ones are doing well today. I hope that you’ve made plans, hopefully more than I have so far. And I hope that you’re able to have nice goodbyes.