But we had learned about Dominick in the old letters and photos my grandmother had saved for all those years. I remember many fascinating hours with my father as we searched through those pictures and he tried to remember who the people were. He had not known that all those boxes his mother had left behind held such treasures and he was thrilled to see, for perhaps the first time, pictures of his little brother Joe who tragically burned to death as a toddler. Dad said it was Joe's death that turned my grandmother's hair pure white.
So, after all these years, Dominick had visitors last week. I wonder how long it's been since anyone has sought him out? Too long, I feel sure. But now we know where he is, and I hope we will be able to return, next time with a little stone or two to place on top of his stone, as is the tradition at Arlington to mark a visit.
It is difficult to understand why it feels so important to locate these graves, particularly those of people we never knew. It seems like a circle closing, a completion of our family in some obscure way. I only know that it brought a sense of peace, a feeling that yes, this was something we needed to do. Our parents were not once for visiting family graves but to me it is an important part of acknowledging our past.
Our next quest will be to find the grave of great-grandfather William Henry Connelly, and perhaps also that of Hettie, that mysterious little lady who apparently caused a furor in her time. Wish us luck!
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.