To the best of my knowledge, I am not descended from Royalty. I have no blood ties to Rockefeller, or Vanderbilt. I do not believe my family tree contains a branch with Henry Ford, Harry Houdini or Joe DiMaggio. But it’s entirely possible someone in my family fed them. I am a descendent of American Farmers. Both sides of my family contain roots embedded in American soil. My mother’s family settled on a farm in Kansas in the mid-1800s, and someone in our family has farmed it, or owned it ever since.
I don’t believe I have anyone famous or fancy in my lineage, but I descend from some amazing people. My great-great-great grandparents settled in Kansas in mid-1800s during a time where their slice of land was perilously close to the unknown wild west and dangerously far from helpful civilization. They built a house, with their own hands, out of stones and homemade mortar. Their grandchildren were eventually pushed off of their farm in the 1940s when the US Government commandeered their property to aid in war efforts. They received $300 for their house. I think I would have been a little angry with Uncle Sam, instead they sent their kids off to serve their country, salvaged what they could, and planted it again.
My grandmother survived the dust bowl, the Great Depression, and WWII where she served as a nurse overseas. She raised 6 kids on a government salary (my Grandfather was also an army nurse). While moving from place to place she and her siblings and parents wrote letters that still survive detailing day to day life on an army base…overseas….with 4+ kids. My grandmother was 91 when she passed, and the full military honors at Arlington were almost enough to honor the amazing person she was. In my 30 years of knowing her, I never once heard her complain (except when I’d stop her clock in the middle of the night…but that ticking drove me bonkers!)
I complain a lot.
I have never not had enough.
I have never been forced from my home.
I’ve never served my country.
I don’t now…nor do I plan to…have six kids.
I don’t know how to sew, or fix a tractor, or make my own butter.
My grandmother and her siblings rarely smiled in photos, but to hear their descendants gather, you know that they valued laughter and joy, because it flows like a river at our events. We keep traditions alive and add new memories. We remember where we came from, and we take that with us wherever we go.
I don’t descend from royalty, I descend from everyday heroes, and I couldn’t be more proud.