I've been thinking a lot about family history lately, for various reasons -- not the least being reading the Brother Cadfael books, with Cadfael's quiet pride in his Welshness, remembering again the amazement of finding my own great-great-great-grandparents on the 1841 census in Breconshire, in a little town called Llangattock. (I had known that they were Welsh, but not where they had lived, or what my great-great-grandmother's parents names were.)
For some time, I've been tempted to knit a project now and then that has a connection to my own family history -- Bavarian stockings, a Scottish shawl, something Irish -- I'd long admired the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road, and when I saw Jitterbug's "Velvet Olive" colorway, I thought the two would be a perfect match -- that the stuff says "Made in Wales" seemed to bring everything together. (More details and photos of Conwy when I've finished the second one!)
The lamp is my great-grandfather's -- he was a fireboss in Pennsylvania around the turn of the last century, and this was his safety lamp. His parents were German, and he married the daughter of a Welsh miner, who had immigrated with his young family in 1869, working his way up from the pits of South Wales to become a mining supervisor and owner in America.
I haven't read How Green Was My Valley in years -- I remember being deeply moved by it when I was thirteen or fourteen, I guess, not only by the story itself but by a sense of kinship with young Huw Morgan. This quotation brings back to me some of its lyricism and poignancy, and explains a little of what I find so fascinating and timeless about family history:
"I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond. And their eyes were my eyes. As I felt, so they had felt and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning and no end, and the hand of his father grasped my father's hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand, and all, up and down the line that stretched from Time That Was to Time That Is, and Is Not Yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man, made in the Image, fashioned in the Womb by the Will of God, the Eternal Father."