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November 22, 2006


Beth, this is so wonderful. Thank you!

I remember learning to play bridge -- my mother was good at bidding, my grandmother less so, but they were both good teachers. (My father wasn't great at bridge but had a very good memory so I had three different models of players as I learned at a beach in southeast Spain.)

Do you feel a little wistful you have no children to pass this all on to? I have a niece and nephew but no faith at all that they'll be interested...

Actually, I think I got over that, though it once bothered me a lot. Being childless has its advantages - for one thing, I've been able to devote myself to writing and other arts in a way that none of my contemporaries-with-children could do at the same age. This project has made me think about what in my experience might be more universal, or interesting to a larger audience than just my family. I agree that it would be nice to have someone younger be interested - but I think it's worth writing down just as a record of those times. You never know who will find something in it that matters to them, don't you think?

I HAVE a kid and have no guarantee that she'll be interested in keeping up with family history, or at least not ours. Daniel Radcliffe's, maybe. So yes, write it down, and note in the margins where to find the stuff you didn't get time to write.

Having once been rousted from bed by an irate museum director who wanted to vent about being abused by families who had donated things like a moose head and a half-size stagecoach to his restored sash-and-blind mill, I am sensitive on this next point: If you should choose to leave your family history to a museum, choose a museum whose purposes match the material. Selling off stuff that doesn't fit is always painful to small-time local charities!

Following the story with fascination and admiration ...

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.