Monday, December 03, 2012

Feeling philosophical

It's that time of year. Winter has set in. It's about three weeks to my birthday. I'm busy researching for a book I want to write about my ancestors. I'm looking at transcripts of the West Briton from the 1830 and 1840s. Life was hard then.
The people who transcribed the papers have made a hard task easier by putting any names in capital letters which means that you can scan the text rather than read every word. So many people. So many lives.
Most of those who have gone before are long forgotten, yet the scant accounts in news articles and books give a hint to who they were. I'm trying to flesh out a host of little titbits, entries in a register, scraps of information gleaned from books and articles, in order to tell a story, one that not only satisfies my curiosity about who I am and where I came from, but one that will have a wider appeal.
For many years we've holidayed in Cornwall and invariably spent time in the town where I grew up. As we get older, our conversation inevitably turns to the possibility of moving back there.
There are of course, the problems of affordability and whether my health issues would be better served by remaining here.
Our ancestors had no such dilemmas. When the town of Hayle died just over a hundred years ago, my ancestors had to move. Move or starve.
Most of our ancestors lived and died and are forgotten. A few have left a mark.
And us? When we go, will we leave a mark, or a stain? If we move, will we move to live, or move to die?