Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Sister He Never Knew Of...

While I was in Tennessee, one of my wondeful missions was to go into the mountains to take pictures of some gravemarkers and gravestones. I was so thrilled to enter into this rugged country of sorts, into the world of dirt roads and unmarked cemeteries. As odd as it sounds, I was so thrilled to be in something so opposite of my California lifestyle.

When we finally made it to the cemetery, we had to park below a hill and walk up the rest of the way. My Aunt Phyllis warned us to look out for snakes as we walked up the hill full of overgrown grass. When we finally reached the top of the hill, there was a small metal fence that surrounded the cemetery. Most of the place was overgrown with grass, weeds, and bushes. The trees made it so very little light made it into the cemetery and it was a bit hard to see in most places. I certainly wished at that moment that I had brought a flash light so that when I took a picture of the stones, you would actually be able to read them.

So as everyone began looking around, I began taking pictures. My Aunt Deb had the job of writing down what was on each stone. As I was kneeling and bending and twisting every which way to get a "great" picture of my great grandparents' gravestones, I noticed something shiny on the ground. When I reached down, I realized that it was a small stone that had been covered by a bush.

As I pulled the bush back and read the stone, my eyes lit up. "Look what I found!" I shouted out to everyone. As they gathered around me, I read the words on the small stone, "Inf. Dau of Monroe and Matilda Dugger".

I looked at my Aunt Deb and she shrugged. "Dad nevered mentioned nothing to me about a baby sister of his that died young, but then again, he never mentioned much about his family to us."

Everyone looked at my Aunt Phyllis. "I never heard a word about this," she said in suprise.

I was thrilled and ideas were rolling through my head faster than I had time to process them. I suddenly lost interest in the cemetery and was desperate to get back to my Grandpa's house. I had to see him, I had to ask him, I just had to know.

When we finally made it home, I instantly ran into my Grandpa's room to ask him about it. Before I had the chance to tell him what I was so excited about, he smiled at me and tried to calm me down. "Baby Girl, you're going to have to calm down if you want my old ears to hear a word you're saying," he said with a smile. As I told him the story though, his expression changed to one that was difficult to read. "Well, I am sorry to say that I never knew of this 'sister'. My Old Man never mentioned him, but we never talked much. Now, Baby Girl, I'm sorry I can't help you any. But it is time for this old man to get some rest." I gave him a quick hug before leaving his room and that was that.

To this day, I don't know if my Grandpa knew of this "infant daughter" or not. He was never very fond of me researching his parents side of the family. I think this is because he did not get along with his father after his mother's death. He always felt like the black sheep of his family.

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