Wednesday, May 2, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Close Up

This post is part of Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for 2018. The prompt for the week of April 30, 2018, is Close Up.

I feel like I know my maternal grandfather, William Liming Redles, close up, because of the letters and documents he left behind that were saved after his death by his wife, my grandmother Leona Roberts. I don’t have such a volume of information on any other ancestor written in his or her own hand. My grandmother saved the letters Will wrote to her, even after he requested that she destroy them. I’m glad she didn’t listen. Stubborness runs on the Roberts side. 

My maternal grandparents Leona Roberts and William Liming Redles

I believe attention to detail runs on the Redles side, at least in Will’s case. Maybe that’s part of the reason Will made the Marines a career. It fed that part of his personality, or made it useful. I wonder if attention to detail can be passed down in our genes. I certainly have it, and one of my children and one of my grandchildren have it, too. I was told once it’s my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. I can’t see the forest for the trees, to use a cliche. In reading Will’s letters, it seems he picks apart detail after detail, focusing on the smallest of things. He was bossy as an older brother to two younger sisters and as an older husband to a much younger wife. I suppose my younger siblings, my children, and my grandchildren would say I'm the same way.

My dad had started a novel about the father-in-law he never met (Will died in 1932), but the book was never published. The story starts out as Will (Trent in the novel) lays dying, and then his story is told in flashbacks through letters from his sisters and friends, letters to his wife, and military documents. My dad changed all the names. I’ve wanted to write a biography about Will, but it will only interest my immediate family, if even them. And it feels like such a monumental task to get the details right (as much as I love detail). 

Rather than repeat what I've written about Will before, please take a look at my previous blog posts:

My Maternal Grandfather William Liming Redles
Church Record Sunday - The Baptism of William L. Redles
Sympathy Saturday - Scrapbook of a Death
My Granddad's Philadelphia

Maybe I’ll do like my dad, and write a work of fiction about my grandfather. I do find his life fascinating. 


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