So far, this blog has been about the research and work of making happen this amazing art tour. I haven’t really gotten personal as I have been busy jotting down notes and following leads and haven’t given my personal life much consideration. More accurately, I have been making myself busy with endless task sheets and ignoring my personal life.
But perhaps to make this journey more interesting or to give it more life, I need to explain the backdrop onto which all of this research, doing, making, contacting is happening.
As I have been busy doing, I have had it in the back of my mind that someday it would be quite wonderful to share the family story with my children. I would nestle the little Harrison onto my lap and talk about the great tour and the people behind the names and what they did. The man who worked at the paper mill making paper…the boat the family sailed on that took them to their new life…their grandfather that would pile me into his VW bug along with his drum kit to go to gigs…all good stories, all full of the elements that make a story worth telling.
Unfortunately, the story telling and the UK adventure ends here. Ends today. It ends with me. I have just spectacularly failed my second attempt at IVF.
So now, as I plan for my great adventure, as I book and confirm dates for the circuit, as I imagine all of the interesting people I will meet along the way, there is the thought at the back of my mind that I cannot hand this down to my children. There is no one to hand over my scribbled notes of dates, or stories of ‘How I met your father.’
Today is a very dark day for this story. Today is the kind of day when I would like to write out that hideous quote ‘life is a beautiful struggle,’ rip up the paper into a million pieces, stomp on it, kick it a bit, then dump it in the bin.
I am taking time out today. And I am making red velvet cupcakes.
Oh happy day! I received the birthday certificate of EM Green today. Now my research can continue. I had reached a dead end with his father, not knowing where he lived, what he did, etc. Birth certificates are mightily useful for telling these things.
Unfortunately, the type that they used was difficult to read.
Occupation of father: ….er….?…..Hoster?…..Hosier?….Hooter?
None of them seemed likely. What is a hoster? Someone who hosts?? A Hosier…maker of lady garments. Well, he eventually became a farmer so I don’t bloody well think so. Hooter? Oh, you know, those things attached to the ladies that work in tight t-shirts and small shorts in the American place that makes chicken wings.
Hooter seemed most plausible. He was a master Hooter: The man that blows the whistle at a mine. I must read more about this sort of hooter. From what I’ve seen so far, they did not merely blow the whistle to mark a certain hour of the day. I have also read that they tooted the whistle when a death had occurred on site. Terribly interesting. Terribly.
This entry is probably going to be about as exciting as the name suggests. Proposal. And I’m not talking about the kind where the guy gets on his knee and his girl gets giddy with anticipation.
I have been working on writing out the proposal for funding for this project. Sometimes I feel that words run freely, I can easily grab hold of just the right one, I can do this repeatedly, string them together and write something worth reading. Today, I feel like I have the vocabulary of a 5 year old.
Details of how you have involved the public in planning your activity.
My answer: They will get to look at it and walk around it. They will have fun.
I may as well continue with…’I like to eat ice cream. It is nice. Today it is hot.’
On a scale of 1 to 10 on how successful I feel today, I would rate myself at 3.
But Monday, now THAT was a good day. I received responses from a very helpful and lovely person in Ivybridge Devon and a very kind of helpful soul in Dudley. I am still waiting for a response from the city in which I live. Waiting. Waiting. A girl could get paranoid with this lack of response.
Papers with names. Scribbled on scrap envelopes with email address of contacts. Newspaper margins filled with to-do lists. I would usually decribe myself as a very organised person, but for some reason I just can’t seem to gather it together for this project.
I think what I am finding difficult is that I am the person that can spur this project on. I am also the person that can cease project just by procrastination. Making time to research must be seen as a job and not just something to cram in between making art work for latest commissions and hoovering the stairs. To be honest, most of my research has been haphazard, until yesterday when I finally, FINALLY, contacted http://www.gro.gov.uk to order EM Green’s birthday certificate and Joseph and Maria’s marriage certificate. Those papers alone will fill in the details from 1854 to 1866. Those documents should contain career information as well as address. It is the address that I am particularly interested. Just think about it…how cool would it be if I found Joseph and Maria’s home? It really could still be standing? Or possibly levelled with a big ugly ASDA perched on the site.
My http://www.ancestry.co.uk family tree is growing. It seems to be growing outward from somewhere in the middle, rather than downward where I am still rooting around for…roots. Richard Kingwell, you are still a mystery.