alycewilson (alycewilson) wrote,

LJI Second Chance: The Garden Path

This is my entry for Second Chance Idol ( This week we get an open topic, meaning we can write about anything. I'll update later when there is a voting link to share.

The Ardennes region of France, a bright green valley with clear-running stream and tiny white buildings.

The Garden Path
(for my mother's mother's mothers)

I am the daughter of Vivian,
who was the daughter of Ella,
who was the daughter of Senora,
who was the daughter of Hannah,
who was the daughter of Cathrina,
who was the daughter of Susanna,
who was the daughter of Anna Margaretha,
who was the daughter of Anna Catherina,
who was the daughter of Veronica,
who was the daughter of Susanna,
who was the daughter of Susannah,
who was the daughter of Rachel,
who was the daughter of Jeanne,
who was the daughter of Jeanne.

And in this way, I unravel our path:
from my hometown in Central Pennsylvania
back through Pennsylvania Coal Country
to Philadelphia
by way of New York City
through The Netherlands
to the Champagne-Ardenne region of France.

My father believes I have a "French nose,"
perhaps a mitochrondrial trait, if I am,
indeed, descended from these French
Huguenots, whose ancient roots
sprung from fertile earth in Picardy,
north of Paris. That green place
birthed Pierre Cresson, gardener
to the Prince of Orange, known as
Pierre le Gardinier. From Picardy, perhaps,
the seed of my mother's green thumb,
her love of botany: documented in the bright
pastels she left behind.

I trace back my matrilineal names:
from me, a Wilson,
daughter of a Starr,
daughter of a Hinkle,
daughter of a Hampton,
daughter of a Yoder,
daughter of a Trautman,
daughter of a Pfeiffer,
daughter of a Muller,
daughter of a Warner,
daughter of a Cassell,
daughter of a DeLaPlaine,
daughter of a Cresson,
daughter of a Clauss,
daughter of a Famelar,
daughter of a Colle.
If the work of my supposed cousins
holds, I am lucky to connect
these points along a circuitous path, from
my 2019 all the way to 1572. Now,
I unfold this rough map, sketched
by others, and examine all stopping points.
So far, success: two certain links
between Hannah and Cathrina,
my second and third great-grandmothers.
Now to suss out Susannah. With that
established, the pathway will root
in records and documents, thanks to
Pierre Le Gardinier.

As I weed the path from Cathrina
to Susannah, I wonder what we share.
The way we bite our lips in thought?
Our clear-eyed ability
to evaluate those around us? Powers
of perception, elevated or earthly?
My mother's bright blue eyes,
my Nana's hazel laughter,
great-grandmother's stoic stare,
great-great-grandmother's poise.
So different, all of them, but I see
the thread unwinding. I long
to tell our stories, the oft-forgotten
others of history books. From "wife of"
to mother, grandmother, matriarch.

My Matrilineal Line
My matrilineal line: me; my mother, Vivian Starr; my Nana, Ella Hinkle; my great-grandmother, Senora Hampton; and my 2x great-grandmother, Hannah Yoder

Tags: family, genealogy, lj idol, poetry, second chance idol

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