A few weeks after my first birthday my mother wrote in her diary – “Carol awake at 7:00. Had good day. Walks quite a bit saying “OBoy, OBoy.”
Sixty-seven years later I say “OBoy” again because I’m excited about starting this blog. For the past year I’ve immersed myself in the history, documents, and memories of my family’s farm on Whirlwind Hill in Wallingford, Connecticut. I’ve thought, written, and made art about this place, and I’m ready to share the results with a wider audience.
I never thought I’d have a blog. And yet, here I am, venturing into a technology far removed from the people and times that are my subject. My Hall ancestors kept journals, wrote letters, sent postcards, made wills, signed deeds, and posed in their best clothes for portraits.
They felt a need to record their lives, and I’m grateful that they did. I like to think they would welcome this modern way of passing along history. My great-grandmother, Lydia Jane Hart Hall, whose journals are a rich source of information about farm life, was often housebound and lonely in the last years of her life. A community of writers and readers would have pleased her.
Our own lives revolve around the stories we have in our heads. Some are told by others, and some we tell to ourselves. There is reality, and there is memory, and often the two are so entwined they’re hard to separate.
My family had a farm on a hill in Wallingford, Connecticut. My mind is full of what I’ve heard about my ancestors and their life there. In my physical world the detritus of their existence has taken on even more meaning now that my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are gone.
I’ve started writing some of the memories and history down so that my children won’t have to say the sentence William Zinsser claims is one of the saddest he knows – “I wish I had asked my mother about that.”
Please join me on Mondays, Wednesdays, and occasional Fridays, here “On Whirlwind Hill.” I’m launching this blog in April – a time of spring and beginnings. I plan to bring it to an end in April 2015, but who knows – that could change. I welcome comments, stories, corrections, and the company of family and friends.
On Wednesday: A Piece of the Past