Forbearing an encounter with Forebears

by Alden Cole on July 3, 2015 · 0 comments

“The mind that is wise mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” – William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

1007WPTime spent with family and friends in Vermont and Maine is always interesting on a variety of levels. My latest trip north – the two weeks plus from June 14th to 30th – was no exception. The first four days were an opportunity to manifest and refine my organizational skills, transforming a couple rooms that had gotten a little overwhelming in the home of Springfield, Vermont friend Kate Suchmann. Then on to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for a couple overnights with Heinz & Diane Sauk-Schubert in their new home before journeying up to Dayton, Maine for the Saturday June 20th “I Do BBQ” celebration of my cousin Bekah Giacomantonio’s wedding to Jake Mahon, which brought in the summer solstice with memorable merriment. The remaining week in Dayton flew by too quickly, but I had the pleasure of ‘breaking bread’ with a number of family members: my oldest brother Clark and his wife Georgianna; cousins Gordon & Isolde Cole; Amos & Cynde Gay; Steve, Karen and Eliza Cole; Elizabeth Giacomantonio; plus friends Harold & Liz Stover, Bill & Claire Harrison, Donna Umbro, and John MacDougall who took me along to the Thursday morning schmooze club composed of old high school friends that meets weekly at the Dunkin’ Donuts in the local Walmart. Did I forget to mention anyone??

“Nothing purchased can come close to the renewed sense of gratitude for having family and friends.” – Courtland Milloy

0996WPAs a child exploring the big old farmhouse on the hill (seen in the photo at left) that belonged to my grandparents, one of the scariest places to my young mind was the upstairs hallway, off which were five bedrooms with doors usually closed, which left the hallway dimly lit and rather foreboding. In the gloom were discernible portraits of five of The Ancestors – two sets of great-great-grandparents from my grandfather’s side of the family, and another great-great-grandmother from my grandmother’s side, who was portrayed with a son who had died in his 9th year. Despite being framed in elegant oval frames made of walnut, the grimness of expression on the sitters’ faces never endeared this particular portrait gallery to my young eyes. However, times change; so while there last week one of my Maine missions was to scan the images of those forebears with the help of cousin Amos Gay, thank you very much.

Coles&WeymouthsWPLeft to right, portraits of two sets, out of a possible eight sets, of great-great-grandparents, all of whom were long gone by the time I arrived on the scene: Remich Cole (1795-1876); Mehitabel Clark [Cole] (1798-1891); Hannah Meserve [Weymouth] (no dates); Luther Weymouth (no dates), stalwart individuals who were my father’s father’s grandparents through his Cole father and his Weymouth mother. The composed photo above is intended to give some idea of why these portraits which are each only about seven inches in height, were so daunting to a young impressionable mind. Any cousins out there who experienced these images in their youth, with similar feelings about their haunting qualities?

Coles&Weymouths2WPOne of the benefits of current technology is the ease with which one can take a better look at old photographs that are small, hard to read, faded and possibly damaged by the wear and tear of time. In pursuit of taking a better look, I cropped the original images to focus on their faces – up close and personal. Quite the gallery of work-worn, weather-beaten individuals, who were young themselves just two hundred years ago, before the invention of photography.

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” – Gautama Buddha

2ViewsIntervaleWPSpecial thanks to all who helped to make my fortnight in New England a wonderful, memorable treat; all in all, an extraordinary vacation. Cheers!

“He who never walks except where he sees other men’s tracks will make no discoveries.” – Anonymous

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