Thursday, December 23, 2010

In 1843 Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was published,becoming an instant classic.


That year in Aberdeenshire Scotland, little Daniel Waters, my 2nd Great Grandfather who would later emigrate to America, was just 2 years old. Perhaps his father, David the lighthouse keeper and young 20 something dad, was reading it to the older children while his mother rocked Daniel to sleep by the fire.

Absorbed-Public Domain Image

I wonder if  Ed's Eaton Great Great Grandfather Amos, a carpenter, was reading it in his home in Townsend. Maybe throughout the afternoon he glanced out the window from time to time to see if the snow had let up so he could go back out to work. But, as the snow continued and the late afternoon sun began to set, he was probably relieved he could stay in and finish reading the story.

Another of Ed's Great Great Grandfathers,  Heman Crowell, was just 8 years old that year and had lost his father the year before. Maybe his older sister Rhoda read the Dickens story at bedtime to young Heman and his little sister Betsey, helping them forget how much they missed their father while their mother Minerva was in the other room, preparing for Christmas wondering what was she going to do without him.
The Bedtime Story by John Seymour Guy

My Henrietta wasn't yet born when A Christmas Carol was first published, but her mother Susan, my Great Great Great Grandmother would have been a young girl of 12 in Wayland, Massachusetts. Pehaps she was reading it by the lamplight in bed at night, cuddled under the quilts, trying to be brave while she read the really scary parts. After all, it is a ghost story.

Youn Elspeth Reading in Bed by Robert Sevill

My  Great Great Grandfather Marinus Willett, was a teenager in Queens when A Christmas Carol was published. My bet is that he got a good laugh from the whole thing because, after all, his father's name was Ebenezer.
Scrooge by Leech

This Christmas, I am so grateful to all the 'Ghosts' of Christmases Past in my family history who are responsible for my being here. And my wish for you all is that your Christmas Present will be the happiest yet! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!