The Relative Trend

Luke and Patience had Almira next to them.

Oscar and Mary had William with them.

Frank and Ina Mae had Carroll next to them.

Hick and Avis have my uncle B. to their right.

And my Uncle B. and Aunt C. already have my cousin in their plot.

…and There They Were

My mom went with me on my great cross-Michigan trip to Pontiac and outside of Potterville. And there was this moment, when I was standing in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Pontiac, with Luke and Patience’s grave in front of me, when I was overcome. I was just talking out loud to them, even with my mom standing there, telling them who I was and the list of descendants from them that would get them to me.

And I wanted to leave something, but I didn’t know what, and so I left pennies.

I had this emotion I didn’t know how to name. It felt like patriotism, but more personal. There they were, these people who are me.

We ate lunch at the McDonald’s just south of Luke and Patience’s land, but we didn’t go up to look because construction was crazy and it just wasn’t that easy to get there. But we were just one lot down.

And then we went to the cemetery, and there they were.

We drove then, over to north of Charlotte, and found Oscar and Mary in a well-kept cemetery just down the road from an honest-to-god country store. I should have realized Mary’s parents would be there, but I was so shocked when we found their grave–Luvan and Jane Hildreth. It was much more emotional than I thought it’d be.

Tonight my Uncle B. told me that the Jewish folks in our family are not on the Robinson side, like my dad had always said, but on the Phillips side–that they were German Jews from up by the Netherlands. I don’t know if this is true, though it makes sense of how we have an Oscar and a bunch of Franks in the family (names I think of as more German than English).

But, if this is true, it means I’ve been going about my search for Luke’s parents all wrong. And how big can the pre-1808 Jewish community in the United States have been? To find Luke’s dad, I just need to find the one Jewish guy named Phillips who lived in Connecticut in the late 1700s and moved to upstate New York at the turn of the century. Ha ha ha ha ha. Yes, I know the problems with that last sentence. I’m still going to laugh about it.

It’s late. I’m exhausted. We’re supposed to take all the children to the zoo in the morning and then my aunt and uncle are going to take me cemetery viewing here, which should mean I’ll get Frank and Ina Mae in. And Sojourner Truth. And possibly a Kellogg or two.

Should be very cool. Pics later.