Don’t Tell These Tales

Blogher Writing Lab

August Theme: TALES

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Are there any family stories you hope don’t get passed on beyond your generation?

Don’t Tell These Tales

There is a history of mental illness on both sides of my family including some suicides and near suicides. There is also a family story about family desertion, a murder, and a shooting accident that resulted in a death. Some of the stories are gory and some of them are shameful. My children know these stories, so they have already passed on beyond my generation, but they may stop there. I know some of my grandchildren know the story of a shooting accident that resulted in a death, but I don’t think they know the other family stories yet, and maybe they never will.

Back in the 1970’s, one of my great-uncles disappeared from his daughter’s home where he had been staying. He was in bad health and unable to live by himself. It was over two weeks before they found him. Several men in the family were conducting their own search and found him in the woods behind his daughter’s home. He had drank some anti-freeze and had been dead for a while when they found his remains.

Another family story says my great-great-grandfather deserted his wife and six children in South Carolina, sometime in the early-to-mid 1880’s. He came to Alabama, married a younger woman, and they had seven children. Their marriage was said to have been very rocky. They were separated when they died and are buried in different locations. They show up on several censuses as living separately, each with one of their children.

Two of my great-uncles, by marriage, from this same family, got into an altercation sometime during the early 1900’s. One shot and killed the other one and then ran away and hid. I don’t think he was ever caught.


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