Tell the Children

By Jeannette Holland Austin

Telling the family story is the key to getting your children interested in their ancestors. Whether they realize it or not, just about everyone has something to tell which will thrill and delight the children. The family story is the beginning of the realization of how we play a role on the stage of humanity. I had a great-aunt Estelle who was a fuss-budget. Nothing suited or pleased her. She was critical of everyone and everything. Yet, after examining her background, the whole era of the post-Civil War unfolded before my eyes. After the war and the loss of the family home, her family removed to Atlanta to the Grant Park area where they shared an old house. While there, everyone contracted typhoid fever. Her mother was Seventh-Day Adventist and did not believe in medicine. However, while she allowed medical treatment to be administered to the children, she succumbed at an early age and was taken back home to and buried in the family cemetery. I became interested and visited the cemetery. It was across the road from the debris of an old plank board house and fallen brick chimney. The debris resembled none of the plantation homes in Gone With the Wind! It was simply an old farm house. General Sherman’s patrols had taken all of the farm animals and food. As I viewed it, I thought “How could anyone live here?” As I gazed upon the devastation and loss of a family home, finally, I understood!

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