I went to work today, but really I was just hanging out in case disaster struck — the library is pretty much staffed by undergraduates all weekend long.
Disaster did not strike, though there was some complication with the reading room lights, and I mostly just sat in my office. Where, by diligent searching on ancestry I found out that my grandmother had a lot of relatives around here. I knew she had some, but she had more.
I find it hard not to get sucked in. Janet, who was called Jenny at home, married a guy in Michigan (they were both Canadians who had come across for lumbering purposes. Originally they were all from Scotland). They lived in Ukiah and Everett, Washington, and then Oakland — all the while lumbering, and then he died, and of the five kids, three married and went away, one married and went away and then came back, and one never left. Her daughter married a ship’s pilot, and she died young and the son grew up to be a ship’s pilot, too. There are pictures of him on Treasure Island, which was a naval station in the bay.
Anyway — they are just people — I guess they would have been my grandmother’s cousins, so not even so closely related. But it is interesting to try to figure out how they lived.
I’ve got to find all the pictures my mother has stashed away somewhere before they are lost forever. There are great ones of my grandmother and my great-grandmother. There’s one of my great grandmother on a timber claim in Idaho, and one of my grandmother as a little girl standing on a pier in the water somewhere near Vancouver.
There’s another relative on my grandfather’s side — his aunt, in fact, who was named Nora. She eloped with a man from Kentucky. He later died or disappeared and her son went to jail. That must have been a shock.
Anyway, a project for retirement.
Hanging out in case disaster strikes is a particularly great circumstance in which you can do things you might not ordinarily do when you’re entirely at leisure. I spent a semester filling in for a Writing Center Director at a nearby college, and part of that was just hanging out in the Writing Center in case the students had questions. I read a lot more things online that semester than I usually do.