Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

28 December 2005

"I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen"

This is a song with a very sweet sentiment, it does call to mind the time it was written, when most people in this country probably came from somewhere else originally. My great-grandparents all came to this country as young people, though I don't know that anyone wanted to go back to Eastern Europe. They also didn't want to talk about it, much less sing.

I'm fascinated by my family tree, I've spent a lot of time researching as much as I can. When my one uncle died about seven years ago I really lost steam. He had been my cheering squad, and I miss his encouragement.

Recently I've been thinking that I should pick it up again, and there's been some interest in me working with my husband's family, as well. I love thinking about where we came from, what comes down through the blood, and also how radically different we are from anyone that has gone before. I love the old stories, and pictures, all the dates and places recorded somewhere. When I had been researching before I 'cold called' several distant relatives with helpfully distinctive last names. While none of them knew me as an individual, most were very generous when I explained where I fit in with the larger family. One woman sticks in my memory because she was not friendly, and had no idea why I would bother to care at all about dead people. Still, I was proud of the fact that I kept her on the phone long enough to get more information from her than she probably realized that she was giving. I didn't have intention of pestering her ever again, but I thought that surely someone cares about all this, someone else is interested in the dead people, like me, and maybe I could find *them*. But then my uncle died, and I never took the time to follow up on any of it.

Many of my older relatives have died in the intervening years, and much has been lost. That may sound overly dramatic, but to me it is indeed tragic. The stories are lost, the unique stories that tell me where the ground is, the roots of a significant part of who I am.


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