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History Corner By Pat Ross & Fran Snead


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January 01, 2015

Pat and I recently attended a meeting in the month of December where the keynote speaker quoted, "It is not where you came from or where you have been; it is where you are going that matters".  This statement might have served a purpose for the message of her speech, but it really bothered me and started me thinking.  If it weren't for the past there would be no present or future.  I sit at the Historical Center (working, not just sitting) surrounded by photographs, files, displays, items, and artifacts from the past; little pieces of people's lives that we are trying to preserve for people to discover, admire, and appreciate.  So if it weren't for the past, there would literally be no Bassett Historical Center.

Everything starts from something.  It may be a seed, a root, or an idea.  A tree cannot bloom if it doesn't have roots; a book cannot end if there is not a beginning; an invention cannot become great if there was no idea; a person cannot move forward if they do not know where they came from.

There is a huge importance of knowing where you "came from".  This might help to explain why you act the way that you do, why you view the world in a certain way, why you chose a specific profession, or why you have the medical problems that you do.  One of the most important reasons about knowing where you came from may be one's medical history.  Knowing your medical history may enable a hereditary disease to be treated early or even prevent one from occurring.  Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can all have strong genetic links.  Helpful information may be gathered by asking older relatives to tell about deceased family members, by looking at old medical records, and by collecting death certificates of family members.  This is also very important for adopted family members but may prove to be more difficult.  Several patrons have visited the Center for this very reason.

There have also been several patrons who have visited the Center recently that are interested in genealogical DNA testing.  This testing can enable people to trace blood relatives, lost ethnic roots, and bloodlines that may cross racial lines.  So who you think you are may be totally different than who you really are.

Another importance of knowing where you "came from" may to be satisfy a curiosity that you have.  Who in the family has dimples like I do?  Why do I have red hair?  Where did my hazel eyes come from if everyone in my immediate family has blue ones?  Why am I so much shorter than my siblings?  Who do I resemble the most?  These questions can be answered by simply researching or by looking through old family photographs.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that cannot be truer in cases like these.

I can't help but to see some of these same similarities in my six month old puppies.  At the end of the summer when we had to put our eighteen year old cat to sleep, the house just seemed way too quiet.  My husband, Mike, and I decided to get a puppy which was new to me since I had never had a dog.  We researched different types of dogs and finally decided on a border collie.  My father found a breeder on the Internet who lives above Fairystone.  We called, set up a meeting, and decided to get one of her newly born puppies (or so I thought).  There was one puppy left out of the litter of five that was not promised to anyone.  Well I bet you can guess what happened.  Mike and I fell in love with both puppies and brought them home on August 29th.  They are registered border collies and their pedigree is traced back to Scotland - I have papers with the names of their parents all the way back to the names of their eight sets of great great  grandparents.  So even my dogs know where they "came from".  One of my puppies gets car sick and I found out by talking to the breeder that so did his father (so let's hope he can grow out of it just like Dad).  There is also an issue with some teeth enamel.  I am now in the process of inquiring about that issue with the breeder as well as the owners of their brother and sister.

In getting ideas for this blog I ran across "The True Meaning of Roots" - author unknown.  "If you have a day when you are feeling really low and unimportant, then stop and start counting how many people it took to get you here.  We all know it took two people (our parents) to produce us.  Each parent has two parents, giving us four grandparents.  The number multiplies by two so you have eight great grandparents; sixteen great, great grandparents; thirty-two great, great, great grandparents and that is only the beginning.  Someone once calculated that if you figured an average of about twenty-five years between each generation, you would discover that five hundred years ago there were 1,048,576 people on this planet beginning the chain of reproductions which led to you.  This means that around 1492, when Columbus sailed to America, this many people were already working on you.  This truly represents a lot of pairing, sharing and caring!"

We hope that everyone has a wonderful New Year!  Here's wishing that your best day of 2014 be your worst day of 2015.  But remember there couldn't be a 2015 without a 2014!

"History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future." - Robert Penn Warren

Fran Snead










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