Legacies

amywink December 15th, 2009

“There are things we inherit that remind us of the giver’s presence in our consciousness, tangible legacies that finance an education, decorate a wall, or furnish a room—the desk to which we gesture and say, “This belonged to . . . ” and remember our own belonging. Then there are those legacies which are passed on intangibly, without physical artifact to prove the connection. Some of these legacies arrive quickly; when my grandmother died, I suddenly inherited her desire for baskets just as I did the walnut Governor Winthrop desk she had, in turn, inherited from my great-great aunt. Other legacies wait, maturing like some forgotten bond to spring with unexpected fortune at the time they are most needed. It was in this way I discovered my grandfather had bestowed me with gardening, an uncontrollable urge for flowers that necessitated leaving desk and computer for dirt, shovels, seed, and flowers.” Amy L. Wink, “The Loveliness She Made” 2005 (available here, just scroll down to the 2005 papers)

While I wrote this about gardening, I have found that those “other legacies” are continuing to mature and present themselves in new ways. Another legacy surfaced when a friend and I worked on a presentation about collecting family history in photographs, called City Ancestor/Country Ancestor. Her heritage from New York and Chicago counterbalanced mine from rural Texas. Her photos showed stylish young women on city streets and posed in portrait studios, mine showed women with the flocks of hens, men with horses, cattle and dogs. My portion of the presentation included a poem entitled “A Desire for Chickens” inspired by photographs I kept finding of my ancestors with their flocks of chickens and a poem entitled “Extended Family” about the number of animals connected to my family history.

Now, of course, what’s rising out of the photographic record of my family history is the hereditary relationship with horses. Though it may have taken a while, I could not escape what looks to be a genetic predisposition for horses.

Here is a photo of my grandmother, sometime in the 1930’s, on a hunting trip with my grandfather, probably near Devil’s River at Del Rio, Texas.

sybilwise.jpg

Here is my grandfather, probably about the same time.

winkwise.jpg

My father remembers these two horses, Shorty and Bob, at his Grandfather Wink’s place in Wall, Texas, in the early 40’s.

Dad and Bob:

eddiebob.jpg

Dad and Shorty:
eddieshorty.jpg

One Response to “Legacies”

  1. Stevenon 17 Dec 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how the animals in a family’s life — even the ones that might be described more as utilitarian than pet-like — are remembered for so long afterwards? I still remember stories of a blind mule named Old Tobe that my grandmother described and how must have met his end close to 100 years ago. And my aunt still remembers fondly draft horses that used to help with the family’s rice farming.

    Thanks for sharing these pictures. They’re wonderful.

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