PREFACE – “GOOD BLOOD”
I despise secrets for the harm they can do. Secrets have allowed evil to be perpetuated in societies and within families. Yet most secrets are no more than an inevitable part of life’s ups and downs. Everyone, no matter how good, honest or well-intentioned, will, throughout his or her life, make wrong choices. That is part of being human. I believe our ability to overcome our wrong choices is one of life’s greatest lessons.
We do posterity a disservice by hiding the examples of our missteps. The world is becoming more complicated and difficult. Our children and theirs need to know that you can make a mistake, make a wrong choice and be stronger and better for it. They need examples of those of us who erred and are nevertheless worthy of respect because we survived and led productive, happy lives. But that is my philosophy and it may differ from that of yours.
Realizing that – which secrets are mine to tell? Some are far enough in the past that those involved are no longer here to give permission. If alive now, would they condone the inclusion of their secrets in the stories I am writing, as a life lesson for us today? Many secrets were considered scandalous or immoral in an earlier era, but today, would be considered neither immoral nor scandalous by most thinking human beings. Would our ancestors, if alive now, make different choices today? Would they even consider those choices secrets today?
As the author, I must choose which secrets I will tell.
Some I may regret, but as my Grandma King taught me,
“To thine own self be true”.
So, in four genealogy volumes I included all I knew, with a few exceptions. But those too will creep into the creative non fiction stories I am working on. Non of the secrets are hurtful, but I originally omitted them in the family histories because of a very few skeptical, untrusting relatives. Though to be clear, most relatives, near and distant were enthusiastic and unconditionally supportive. My thanks to all of them.
Following are stories, based on true happenings or real people, but some I have fictionalized, or rather, I imagined what might have occurred. I have filled in many blanks and filled out copious details in reliving those people, times and events. And I had wonderful experiences living their lives as I imagined them to have been. This is Creative Nonfiction.
Grandma King often reminded each of us in her large family,
“You come from good blood.”
The repetitive litany inspired me –
It convinced me that my genetic makeup contained the strength of generations of strong, hard-working, mostly honorable (but inevitably flawed) people.
It kept my head above water when life’s cruelty was shoving me beneath the surface.
I pass Grandma’s wisdom on to my progeny.
Now, enjoy the stories … and many (until now, and many newly created) secrets.