As I turned each page, visions of faces somewhat familiar appeared before me. My mother's cheekbones. My brother's eyes. My sisters nose. It was all there, etched onto film. Looking into the eyes of my great grandparents, and their parents before them, I felt a sense of connection, and found myself smiling back. To put it bluntly, it was weird. For the first time, I realised that my ancestors really had lived. Funny that I could be a history major at University, but could not fully comprehend the fact that people had lived before me. It was just that these people smiling up at me seemed so much more real now, so much more... comprehensible.
The Sprecher family was quite a large one, as Louis and his wife Nancy had six kids.
My great great great grandfather Louis Sprecher looked a lot like my mother, with a lean face and a slender nose. He was my mother's mother's mother's father's father.
Louis fought in the American Civil War, and then posed for the statue that now stands proudly in the main town square.
On the other side of the family were the Franks.
Great Great Grandma Frank also looked a lot like my mother.
The Franks were from Germany, and had blue eyes, blonde hair, and postures that would make a stick insect look humpbacked.
Great Great Grandpa Frank was named William Huestis, and so was his son after him.
Here is Great Great Grandpa William Huestis
with a bundle of fish.
Here is Great Grandpa William Huestis
with a bundle of fish.
Great Grandpa William Huestis built his own plane from scratch, and learned to fly loop-the-loops. He could also play the cello.
Then he met Betty Sprecher, the grand-daughter of that guy in the statue. They married and looked real happy in pictures.
While Great Grandma Betty worked as a teacher, Huestis worked at the family funeral home, like his father before him, and his father before him.
They always lived in the same old two story house, and would sometimes sit outside and watch the world go by.
This is that house.
After a time, they had three kids: Eugenie, Bill, and Dana. Eugenie is my grandma.
My grandma was a real stunner. It was no wonder she caught the eye of my grandpa John. They married and moved to New York, where Grandma ran around in miniskirts, held dinner parties, and went to the theatre a lot.
That little munchkin in the Santa suit is my mum.
Here is mum again. The cat cuddler is my uncle Jason.
Looking at these photos, it was almost uncanny;
the pair of them look just like my brother and sister...