If you follow my ancestor line back far enough you will run into the Pilgrims. Thankful Snow was my 6th great grandmother and descended from two Mayflower Families — William Brewster and Stephen Hopkins, a signer of the Mayflower compact. Thankful married Joseph Burgess and the Burgess line carried down to my great grandmother who was Alice M Burgess.
I think the Pilgrims mean more to me now then they did in grade school, built out of toilet paper rolls and construction paper at Thanksgiving. History always missed the mark for me. It isn’t that is wasn’t interesting, there wasn’t anyway to connect it to people that I knew or experiences that my young life had at the time. The Pilgrims were just a bunch of strangers that sailed across the ocean in what would seem like toothpick mini boats to an unknown land without a motel, road or house in sight. The lived on what little food that they had grown and preserved, not shopped for in a store. Their treasures were fruits and berries carefully saved and preserved for snacking on in the winter, not the latest version of Barbie or GI Joe, or the current trend of technology. How could any child possibly grasp and connect to their existence. You memorized the facts of their life and spit them back out at test time only to have them deleted from memory by the next set of historical facts.
History is now an engaging part of my families past. The hat that Thankful Snow Burgess, my 6th great grandmother, wore is now housed in a museum. It is a fascinating fact to know my grandfather as a boy delivered groceries with a horse and wagon and lived to see man walk on the moon. The pictures on my wall show my great-great-grandfather outside of his shop, my grandfather posing with his siblings and artwork from another distant grandfather killed in the Civil War. My cupboards are filled with silver and china belonging to assorted grandmothers and added to by myself. Crystal and pottery line shelves, parts and pieces from ancestors past.
Now I can say thank you to the Pilgrims for showing up. If it wasn’t for them leaving creature comforts and braving a vast ocean and strange new land, where would I be?