Saturday, April 13, 2013

13555. The Bailey Family


Every family goes through it to one extent or another. Mine just did.

The problem with large families being born together is that large families can die together. What I mean is that when the time comes, when the members of a generation all reach a certain age, chances are they're going to start falling off. I mentioned my Uncle Mike and my Aunt Helen a while ago, who went a week apart. This winter their brother and sister, Louie and Nancy, did exactly the same thing. And that was that. My dad's parents, uncles and aunts were gone.

The Hanover Baileys summed up the notion very well, when they wrote on a family stone in 1900, "Gathering Home, One by One." They took it, of course, from a hymn called "Gathering Homeward":

"Gathering homew'd, from ev'ry land,
Gathering one by one."

I'm still hoping for some Victorian originality, but that may just not have been their thing. In any event, it takes a while in one's lifetime to reach the moment of understanding of the impact of these words. I'm there.

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