Jan 23, 2011

There's a blog out there . .

. . . called Sepia Saturday. It's delightful! No, truly! Bloggers post photo-memorabilia of themselves when young, their parents, grandparents and so on and it is heartwarming to see and read how people treasure their old photographs, very often of people they never saw, cannot remember, know only from family lore and anecdote.  

All based on an assumption, which may or may not be valid, but bearing in mind most of human history, probably isn't.  Viz . .  that your blood-line is the same as your "paper-line" which Genes Reunited or Ancestry.com turns up for you, or, to put the point in less circumlocutory langauge -  yer forebears always behaved themselves.  (In case you don't get it yet . .  is that photo of yer Great Grandaddy actually yer Great Grandaddy or is it a photo of someone who was out playing golf while yer real Great Grandaddy was . . er . . .er . . . entertaining yer Great Grandma!) 

I think that the single most thought-provoking thing about who we are is this. For evolutionists, that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR ANCESTORS back to amoeba writhing in the primordial soup SURVIVED TO ITS REPRODUCTIVE AGE, or for Creationists, back to ADAM AND EVE writhing in the Garden of Eden.  Your ancestors, whoever they were, survived mass extinctions, wars, famines, plagues and pestilence. They avoided the attentions of tyrants, torturers, serial killers, press-gangs, King Herod, Lord Kitchener, homicidal parents, uncles, siblings and wild animals.  They missed out on fatal falls from horses, Blackpool pier, the Eiger Norwand etc, at least until they had handed their genes on to the next generation.  They didn't commit suicide, contract a fatal illness, drink themselves to an early death etc etc until the gene-line that leads to YOU had moved on a generation.

How down to chance it is that we are here at all and that we are who we are!  My father (at 18 yrs) survived dreadful injuries at Arras on the Western Front in WW1 in 1916, injuries that would have killed him had the shrapnel struck an inch nearer his heart.  He lived. Married my mother.  Their first child died only a few months old. A "cot-death" or "sudden infant death syndrome." Who knows whether they would have been happy with their one little daughter, had she but survived? But they went on to "make" me.  A "replacement" for their tragic loss?  See what I mean?

As Topol says . . . "Is a puzzle!"


  1. We are all a very hardy bunch and very lucky.

  2. Man, now I feel really tough. Gad! Good, hardy stock, my lot.

    Ever heard Chumbawumba's 'I Get Knocked Down'? That's how tough I feel. Thanks for the tonic, Doc.

  3. My great grandmother died on an farmhouse kitchen table while undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Her eldest son heard his mother's agonized screams and until his dying day never saw a doctor! My 13 year old daughter just had an appendectomy. She is fit as a fiddle and running around two weeks later. For some things, it depends upon when you were born on the "time-line".

    ...I have always wondered how come I was the only blond in the family...


  4. That's the idea - and so well put by you: to be thankful to be alive - that is a real miracle! Nice when something is added to that - but a miracle it remains even if not.

  5. When I read of war casualties and see film footage I am constantly amazed that anyone survived such carnage. My father's ship was torpedoed - some died, others survived.

  6. Deborah . . . I wasn't implying you needed to be - or are - tough . . . just lucky. Would the science of chemistry have developed any faster at the end of the eighteen century if Antoine Lavoisier had been other than a tax collector? Eh? What sort of question is that? Well . . . he discovered what we now call the Law of Mass Action, but was guillotined because, as a tax collector, he represented oppression.

    Margaret . . see what I mean! You're a blogger today (partly) because your great grandmother produced children BEFORE an operation which could have ended her life.

    Thanks, Britta. All of life can be seen as a sequence of lucky strikes, big and small.

    (Think my attribution is wrong! Not Topol in "Fiddler On the Roof" It's Yul Brynner in "The King and I" Will check)

  7. Greetings, Happy Sunday! Blessings…

    Friendship Awards, Enjoy!
    Thanks for the support, You Rock!

    stay blessed.

  8. I think this shows you've not actually read many of the posts on Sepia Saturday. Lots of the photos are simply historical records of everyday life, not linked to the Blogger's ancestors at all. Some are like time capsules, full of data, whereas others are no more than examples of unknown photographers' attempts at being artists...

  9. Jinsky. Thank you for telling me all what's on Sepia Saturday. This post isn't about Sepia Saturday. It's about the role luck plays in our lives. Maybe I should submit my ideas for posts to you for approval before I write them?

  10. Thanks for a thought-provoking post. I'm Caucasian, with ancestry charts back through Russia to Germany in the 1700's, but certain characteristics on that side of the family make me wonder whether there was an East Asian in there somewhere.
    One great-grandfather died of a spider bite, but not until after having children. One grandfather worked in lead-and-zinc mines, but got a job running the hoist (the elevator). As a result, unlike his brothers, he lived long enough and healthy enough to have children.

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  12. Doctor FTSE - Maybe you should put Comment Moderation on your blog, if you don't like replies which stand up for other people's endeavours. Kat and Alan of Sepia Saturday have expended much time and effort in their joint blog since 2009. I thought you were impolite, therefore unjust, in the way you cast aspersions on the validity of their ideas.

  13. Jinksy and Doctor FTSE, there's a time to drop a quarrel...especially when both sides tried to do what was best.

  14. Jim Swindle - there speaks a peacemaker! I was only trying to take a stand on the side of justice for others. I tend not to do the same for myself...But my hand is already stetched out ready to shake with the good Docoto's, if you and he could but see it! LOL

  15. An entertaining read, both post and comments. They brought to mind a quote by Abraham Lincoln -

    “I don't know who my grandfather was; I'm much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.”


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