Thursday, September 14, 2006

show me Missouri

I got some mail from the St. Louis Genealogical Society. I had written them before my trip to New York, and I was asking about my great-grandfather, William Matthews, who was born in St. Louis c. 1870 or so [he died in August 1948 in New Orleans, LA, at 78 years of age].
I knew he was married in 1921 -- after his children with Nathalie Tourne Bailey were born and a month after she divorced her first husband, William Bailey -- and that marriage in New Orleans in December 1921 gave his parents as William J. Matthews and Winifred Fitzpatrick.

So I hoped St. Louis records could help.

They replied to me in great detail. Wonderful, thoughtful, service. They found William Matthews and Winifred Fitzpatrick in a marriage record. They married 11 March 1867 in St. Louis, MO. A record of the marriage written by the justice of the peace was sent to me.

Now, I conjecture this son William had a brother Thomas P. Matthews, born c. 1873 in MO, who is listed in 1920 St. Louis census with daughter Winifred. I know that my grandfather William had a daughter Winifred born in 1904 in New Orleans. It is plausible to think this Winifred is a cousin of Thomas's daughter Winifred, born abt. 1909 [she's 11 years old in the 1920 census].

my mother's cousin Ray told me his father, Alcee Clement Matthews, felt there was a line of Blackfoot Indian in the family; also, my mother's brother, Daniel, was often seen wearing Indian headdress. With Winifred Fitzpatrick born in Ireland and dying in Jan 1883 in MO, the Indian is not from her. It may be from her husband....

Monday, September 11, 2006

glucose and Augustine, anyone?

So my glorious road trip to New York tempted the Fates. My joy had to be balanced by equal angst, trepidation, and other such conditions making my hereditary anghina work up. Three days of sheer take-your-plan-and-toss-it-punyhuman joy.

1. On the way home, CK and I are driving along in Georgia on our way to New Orleans when we have a flat tire. Result: 4 hours in local Wal-Mart. Cutting into the time I need to get home for work at 4 am the next day. Which means I have to hop a jet alone at Atlanta for a flight out. 300 lira americano.

2. That gets me home in New Orleans in my own bed by 11 pm. I get up at 2 am the next morning; my father and I skipped dinner. 6 hours into my shift, security comes and gets me from the cafeteria asking me if my father has a history of seizures. I arrive to find my father in a wheelchair looking for all the world like he's drunk -- slurring words, no motor control, etc. Only he's not. He's low on sugar [not good for a diabetic] and was waiting for lunch when he fell. He's very redfaced, sweating gallons, and needs water. And a bathroom. So I get him into the bathroom, get security to get me water for him to drink , and orange juice, and also granola bars for him to eat. Finally I get him standing and he gets all done. Then when finished, he stumbles into me. A 300 lb man and his 150 lb only son is trying to hold him up. And failing miserably. He falls again onto me. Enter security to pick us up. When we get him outside, I have to drive him home. I, who haven't driven a vehicle since I wrecked my last one last August. I get him home without incident, fix him a can of peaches, and send him off to bed hiding the paternal deathscare I just had.

3. A day after this, I am dealing at my blackjack table and my mother come up to me. My mother who is in florida and was callliing me like mad to say she's coming in. But with my havingn lost my cell phone, I had no idea. My mother is in the same building as my father and the mere thought of this sends images of Chernobyl into my mind. Only the hand of Fate prevented their meeting.

Which brings me to my point. In new york CK and I talked about why I am so fatalistic. Hence my "god doesn't play dice with the universe" idea and why nothing is coincidence. And in Georgia at wal mart when I am perturbed at the delay and CK tries logic to reasssure my temper. And I say that it's Fate that in Georgia we are detained, as if the gods were tellling him they heard how he debated the idea of seeing various family members near there, the very place he was then forced to stay. And more of the fates trying to perhaps tell me how I actually can handle things like driving, meeting my parents both together, medical emergencies, or any other daily maelstrom in my life.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How many paths can one man take?

I was on a trip to Virginia this past weekend to meet an old college friend. While our merry group was busy touring Washington, D. C., I was asked about my opinion on going back to change our pasts. Many of my friends have searched souls to wonder if they could have done things differently by changing past decisions.

I said that I believed in historical inevitability. We may not have gotten to where we are by the same path, but eventually we wind up here. And Life is not a path-defined function. And God does not play dice with the universe. And so on.

Hence the title of my musing. With a nod to Bod Dylan we wondered on our lives and where they were and how five years ago we never would have thought these paths would be the ones we would travel. St. Augustine would approve.