Genealogy isn’t just about people. There can be stories in animals and inanimate objects.
There’s a story about this cat that’s more about my Mother and me than it is the cat. Years ago when Journey was a kitten he “appeared” on my parents’ farm along a state highway in Illinois. It’s never been clear whether he simply made his way there or was helped by a human who left him there. My mother took a liking to him and mentioned to him to me. He was, in her words, “the friendliest little thing” and had hung around my parents’ home and farm outbuildings for several days. Mom had mentioned him to me, and since she was undergoing chemotherapy at the time and already had one farm cat to tend to, didn’t feel up to another one. But, he was the “friendliest little thing.”
My daughter’s boyfriend’s mother worked at our local animal shelter at the time and I told Mom that when my daughter and I came down that weekend to visit, we’d take him back with us. So we had a plan.
Before we left for home, we put the little kitten in the back seat of the car in a box with a blanket. He took the trip fairly well, but mewed a fair amount as we went home. My daughter entertained the little kitten when necessary on the way home. By the time we got home, I told my daughter that she could keep the cat.
And of course, he already had a name by the time we got home: Journey. After all, he’d had a long journey back to our house. I called Mom when we got home to tell her we’d arrived safe and sound. She asked about the kitten and I told her that he traveled fairly well. Then I told her that he wasn’t going to the shelter, that we’d decided to keep him. Mom’s response:
I knew the minute that cat got in the car he wasn’t going to the shelter.
And he didn’t. He went to the local vet the next week, got his shots, had that procedure, and got acclimated to his new surroundings.
Mom didn’t have any living siblings and she was particularly close to her Aunt Ruth who was ten years older than she was and in some ways was like an older sister. There are several pictures of Mom and Aunt Ruth playing with the cats and dogs on my great-grandparents’ farm. Mom passed away in 2015 and her Aunt Ruth passed away in 2019.
The afghan Journey is napping on is one from my Aunt Ruth’s home that now, along with Journey, is with my daughter in Virginia. So there’s something of a connection between the cat and the afghan other than geographic proximity.
If you’re looking for something “genealogical” to write about, remember that not everything has to be about a document, someone whose been dead for a hundred years, etc. Sometimes your own memories are the best. After all, if you don’t share and preserve them, who will?