Thursday, March 07, 2024

Off (or on) my rocker


I suppose I should apologize to my great, great grandfather George for potentially putting him on a t-shirt with an electric guitar. But he survived the civil war so I think being immortalized by me shouldn't cause him too much concern. 

This design was inspired by an e-mail I got from about some Indie Rockers selling their old equipment. This made me think of someone sitting in a rocker. And my great, great grandfather seemed the logical choice. 

Prior to serving in the civil war (on the Union side if you must know) George was a farmer. And before that he made chairs. And before that he spent time in a state asylum. Nothing in my family history elaborates on George's time in the asylum or why. At the time there were many reasons to be put in an asylum other than having the cheese slide off your cracker. He could have had a drinking problem. He could have had chronic migraines. Or he could have just been poor and ended up in the asylum.

But eventually George got out, started farming, married my great, great grandmother (20 years younger than him) and had a passel of kids including my great grandmother. He and my great, great grandmother also raised my grandmother after my great grandmother died in child birth a few years after my grandmother was born. So I owe part of my existence to George (on or off his rocker).  He was also the only one of my close relatives who had the resources to have portraits done. So I have a large portrait of George on my office wall.

And if you've followed my blog religiously you will have read that I think George and I bear a very strong resemblance, especially with the bitching beard I'm now able to cultivate in my old age.

I wish I knew more about George. My great, great grandmother got more family press and appeared more family portraits than George. Being 20 years older than my great, great grandmother unfortunately meant he also died many years before her. So no one seems to know much about him. I probably know more about him than anyone else in my immediate family. I wonder sometimes if his other kids that moved away to California have progeney that know more. But I have no contact with them. 

The three portraits I have of George all show him sitting staring pretty vacantly into the camera. This could be because of his age. Or it could be because he was weary from farming. Or it could be he was weary from having so many kids.  Or he could have been flashing back to his days in the asylum. 

It's probably best that I don't really know. This way I can imagine he was a kind, gentle man of few words who would have appreciated appearing on a t-shirt, magnet, sticker and coffee mug as an Indie Rocker.

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