I decided to postpone my descent into autobiography to finish scanning an autograph book that was originally owned by my great-grandmother Maggie Keville Flanagan, an Irish immigrant who died at age 38, after having 7 children. It’s full of typical little autograph-book verses, first from her husband then from two of her daughters. Below is one of the first pages, written by her husband Moses the week after they were married. [If you can’t see it, go to the actual blog entry>>>]
I wish there was mountains of sugar
And rivers of wine
Plantations of tea leaves
And you to be mine
It’s one thing to handle the crumbling pages. It’s another to see the words blown up out of proportion on a computer screen, every flourish ripe for examination. It touches me.
About the Flanagans we know mostly their tragedies. Moses struggled with 7 children and had to put the youngest two in an orphanage. His efforts to find a new mother for his children didn’t work out and he died in a mental hospital in his fifties. But the autograph book is full of affection and that’s how I like to think of the Flanagans.
(I’m figuring out how to get the pages into a slideshow and to let them tell their best story.)