Thursday, March 18, 2021

SOL21 Slice 18: Daughter of


I am participating in the
All participants are sharing stories about moments in their lives, writing 
 every day for the month of March 2021.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!

"I am Maureen, daughter of Alice, daughter of Agnes, daughter of Margaret, daughter of Bridget." 

Just saying these words aloud gives me goose pimples, it is as if I can feel the passage of time, thinking about those who have gone before me. Can you name back four generations of your forebears? A friend attended an educational conference where everyone on the panel introduced themselves this way. Intrigued and curious, I immediately attempted my own introduction in this manner. I was astounded that I could only name my mother's first name and her mother's first name - and I wasn't entirely certain I was right about my grandmother's first name. 

Thankfully, my brother has worked hard in recent years to gather ancestry information, and I was able to look up these details using his research. What a thrill to discover the names of these women, my female forebears! Yes, if my Irish Catholic roots weren't clear beforehand, these names certainly set the record straight. My mother's grandmother (Margaret) emigrated from Ireland to Massachusetts in the late 1800s, I believe she was a baby in the arms of her mother (Bridget); the specific date is not yet known to me.  Reading through the records, I see that my mother's mother (Agnes, my grandmother) was two years old when her mother (Margaret) died. How devastating this must have been! I think of the impact this loss must have had on her, all her life. 

Look at these beautiful crotchet doilies, each created with such delicate details. My mother was given these after my grandmother died; no one ever explained who had made them and when. Someone in my family, someone, way back when. I am so thrilled to have these, even without knowing their precise history. Imagine the thoughts going through the knitter's mind as she worked, so focused, working so patiently, quietly, to create these small treasures. 

Today's my mother's birthday (she died in 2018), and I am thinking about her, our family history. I have tons of questions and so few answers. I know very little, really, about these women. But now I know their names. 

"Remember that you are all people and that all people are you."
- Joy Harjo


  1. Knowing these women’s names is a start. I can name many on my father’s side but not my mother’s. I have had no contact w/ anyone in her family since the 1980s. The doilies are beautiful. I have some a student gave me in the early 1980s, and I still use them.

    1. It really surprised me how little I know about my ancestors! Yes, I love these little doilies.

  2. I am Denise, Daughter of Virginia Lucille, Daughter of Virginia Lois, Daughter of Virginia L____ (I forget her middle name now. I also have a sister and niece each named Virginia Lynne.) They always went by a different name, so we didn't get them mixed up--one was Virginia, another Lois, Lynne and Ginny.

    It was fascinating to think of this this morning, Maureen. Thanks for this beautiful prompt. Yes, your Irish blood is coming through the names of your ancestors. Beautiful, and the doilies are too. I'm glad you have these treasures.

    1. Are you Virginia Denise? How did you come to be simply "Denise" after that long line of Virginias? Wow! Love your response, Denise. I can feel the generations, feel as if I am touching time in some small way.

    2. I am not Virginia because I have four older sisters. Our oldest sister was Virginia Lynne. We called her Lynne. Then she didn't have any girls, but her twin brother had a daughter and named her Virginia Lynne too. We called her Ginny, but now she goes by Virginia. So there were at least five generations. I need to try to learn more from one of my history buff sisters!