On this day 111 years ago (1900), my great-aunt was born. I don’t generally recall birth dates of dead people—but for some reason on this date every year, I think of Viola. She spent her life in a wheelchair. Doctors theorized that Yours Truly had the same disease Viola did—but by the late 50’s, they’d discovered physical therapy. [*Gives Thanks*]
By the time I came along, Viola’s wheelchair was nestled in the corner of my great-grandmother’s parlor. Grandma Lillie was amazing. She came out west in a covered wagon, survived The San Francisco earthquake, worked in a cannery to support four children, and remodeled the house to accommodate my ailing great-grandfather.
Grandpa George died before I was born, but they tell me I look just like him–which is weird, because the only picture I’ve seen was of a bald, monocled amputee. Hehe. He was Hawaiian and had been a servant of King Kamehameha. (Yes, I’m considered a “Pacific Islander”, and look it).
Ironically, another grandfather I never knew spent most of his life in Hawaii. His name was Reginald Mallalieu. ‘Looks Hawaiian, but it’s English. I’m mostly English. Oh, and a distant relative of John Brown the abolitionist.
I have genealogy info that traces one line back to a knight born in 1578. His descendent was the aforementioned Grandma Lillie, whose parents were—get this—David and Laura (my husband’s and my names). I’ve viewed their tombstones—one mile from my house. From Laura, born in 1857, to my great-nephew Atom, age 6, that’s seven generations in this area.
By far my favorite story is of my ancestor, a captain who served under General George Washington. Orders were that all campfires must be out by 9 o’clock, but one night my kinsman captain and others kept on singing. General Washington sent orders that he and his men should make a tour of the island. They marched all night, returning at 7 AM. When the General sent for him, he feared the worst. But General Washington met him cordially at the door of his tent, and, putting his hand on his shoulder, said: “Orders must be obeyed! Come, let us have breakfast.”