THE MAN WHO HUNG THE MOON (A true family history)
Terry, your stories sure do make me think about a lot of things. Thank you once more for writing and posting.
Don't encourage me, Marina--the flow is endless.
But, Thank You!
So your great-grandfather, Matthew Hybarger, was an economic refugee at that time.
Like hundred of thousands Germans who emigrated to America. He might have been a governing mayor or deputy burgomaster somewhere in Germany, what we dont know for certain, but he told that he was or perhaps he joked. Because of the economic crises, poverty "pauperism" (transition from feudal system to early industrialisation) in Germany and of strict guild laws that existed he perhaps decided to leave the country and begin a new life in his best age. His parents bid farwell. He accepted a dangerous passage and happily arrived in New York, perhaps. He as talented man like many other germans helped to build up the new world. At least built a house for Groogie and planted many trees, yes, because in America he met this wonderful woman and he even remembered Avery.
Maybe he was that M. Heuberger whom I found in the passengers list of 1860 who went on board as 28 year old and left Hamburg way New York, maybe he was a man who hung the moon too.
My Aunt Shirley found the Mormon ancestry registry quite helpful. Of course, they use it to baptize the dead.
I think there's something in my psychological make-up which aberrantly blames my ancestors for jiggering my genes :)
Whoever those people behind me were, they survived and made me possible.
It all hangs at the precipice.
“You know, it's quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: if you think about it you don't do it.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
Terry, thank you so much for sharing some of your family history. My heart dropped when I read what your mother did with your watch. It seems so unloving and uncaring, just a total disregard of what your feelings might be on the matter. In your place, I might eventually be able to forgive my mother, but I would never, ever, forget the lack of respect and common decency that allowed such a selfish act.
I completely understand that recent family incidents can sour one's enthusiasm for learning more about common forebears. Unsavory episodes from the past that come to light can easily discourage one from investigating further for fear of what might be discovered. There were certainly a few in my own family.
But I came to view family history as just that. Those involved are long dead, and who can know all the circumstances and what was truly in their heart? Family relationships and interactions can be far more complicated that the most complex watch ever made. Detailed police reports and excruciatingly graphic newspaper accounts of the day still do not give the whole picture. There are things in my family's past that I would be mortally ashamed of or embarrassed about if they happened today, or even in recent memory. There are other things I might take pride in until I realize I had absolutely nothing to do with it. So now I look at these tales as pieces of a puzzle, and I enjoy trying to put together the whole picture so I can understand what happened more fully. My family history doesn't reflect on who I am as a person in any way. Some of it is quite fascinating and would be great fodder for a movie. Some of it is downright scandalous. But either way, it's just history. Period.
Whether you share it with us or not, I encourage you to look further into your family history. The story of how you came to have that watch is a precious memory no one can take from you. The watch itself would be a wonderful memento, but the treasure is the underlying love and the family story of how it came to you. Who knows? There may be other treasures out there, just waiting to be discovered. Good luck!
PS: I join Marina in encouraging you to write and post more stories like this. I thoroughly enjoy them.
So good of you to take the time to share these things. So few people read anymore--or does it only seem that way?
I cherish the kind words my readers are good enough to hang on this white screen for my tired old eyes to peruse.
Thank you, all.