Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kissing Ancestors

Once when drowning in the love of my Great Grandparents, I planted a big, fat kiss on my Great Grandfather Adam's mouth. My Great Gran Mabel Della Wells Adams (called Old Gran) laughed and rubbed my hair. We must have been cuddled up in the big Oregon rocker on the porch looking out across the prairie field of their ranch near Trochu, Alberta. They were both exotic beings to me. The ancient parents of my Granny Blanche.

She touched my cheek and said, "You have just kissed the mouth who kissed the mouth who kissed the mouth who kissed the mouth of President Adams. You have kissed history my dear!"

My first history lesson delivered in a kiss.

He lived to be 94. She lived to be 99. Blanche lived to be 99. My paternal family not including the Newfs. All the stories were there of births, deaths, trials, laughter, betrayal, love, life and survival skills. Explanations for bad behaviour. Humble pride for good.

Enough that when I was so sick with cancer and a killer infection and hovering between life and death the voices I heard were my Old Gran's telling me to just get up and try harder. That we just don't give up!

I wonder what it is like not to know your own people. Both the good and the bad. To come from a nuclear family that just consists of just two generations. How do you mark your own history? Where is your place? Whose lessons do you end up learning?

When I was little I couldn't draw a picture without a long line of people. It simply didn't make sense. Something I will never know. Neither will my children. Our life has been a living museum where history is simply one of those nourishments given like milk. I wonder what history we will all teach baby Jackson. What our kisses will mean. Or if we will live long enough for him remember at all.

Jackson shares none of my genes. He is Susan and Tim's grandson and she passed away three Decembers ago. Stephen is really missing her right now. I keep a little distance to recognise this.

But Jackson will get something from Mabel in my first kiss on his little head.

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