For the moment, I am on a 'plain' between life and death. It is a simple division in the room......a 'plain'
between tables, chairs, & modern technology, and rows & shelves of books & microfilm. As I walk from
State to State I have stepped back in time. I am looking for you, Nathaniel! I have heard about
you....where you came from, things you did, and how you found your wife. I have spent time with your
daughter Annie, my Great-Grandmother, and listened to her stories about you. She's told me about
your hard life, but more so, the joy you brought to hers. I have stood over your grave, and your picture
hangs on my wall. You are important to me. I need to know more....
I take the books across the 'plain' and return to my table among the living. I run my fingers through the
index and find you there. I am entering a world unknown to me. I read your will, I see your love for your
'beloved' wife, and feel the favoritism you show your children. I see your 'mark' and wonder how one
survives with no education. I feel your patriotism as you depart for military service and wonder how the
days of separation from your family will shape the rest of your your life, and theirs. I am part of this
history and I am proud of my heritage.
But, it's too soon over and I must begin my search again. Back across the 'plain' via modern technology
and microfilm....... I sit in a darkened room and watch your world, your neighbors, and finally YOU flash
before my eyes. I will immortalize you Great-Great-Grandfather Nathaniel. You will be there for all to
see. I am ME because YOU were YOU!
|I Am Me Because You Were You
Sylvia Lynch Matthews
I wrote this after my first trip to the Salt Lake City Family History Library when I was searching
for records to get Nathaniel Pruett into the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It won first
place for the State of Arkansas in Free Form Poetry for American Heritage.
|unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage". Psalm 16:1, 6