Why Am I Interested in My Ancestors?
By David W. McMillan, Ph.D.
I was the son of a perfect mother. I was the little brother of a perfect, dead at nineteen, frozen in his perfection at nineteen, Bill. And I was not and am not close to perfect.
My father wasn’t perfect either, nor was my brother Toney nor my sister Betsy. But from where I sit at my family’s table, we were all supposed to be. My father was strong and powerful. To me, Yul Brenner in the King and I personified him. My brother Toney was movie star handsome, 6 foot 2 inches, tanned, blonde and graceful in every movement that he made. My sister was born with Down syndrome and she had an excuse.
Me, I was born a mess. I played I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours with Kay Epperson and Jean Ellen Hankins. I always went first and then the girls ran away. I knew it was wrong but that never seemed to have much influence on me. The abstract idea of “wrong” or “bad” to me were only words adults used for their convenience to keep me within earshot or to stop me from taking apart mother’s precious antique Ethan Allen clock. These words “good” and “bad” were used to get me to take naps I didn’t want to take or take a bath or go to the bathroom when I didn’t want to.