Leaving a legacy…

I’ve been reading a few blog posts off and on today, and one that caught my eye was about leaving a legacy.

This I presumed to be ‘something to be remembered by’.

I have always suspected that when I pass on, the memory will not linger very long, except when someone, in the years ahead, pulls out a an old photo, and says, “Who’s this old man?”

I’m sure the answer would hover somewhere between “You don’t really want to know,” to “He’s the eccentric side of the family.”

The thing is, I’ve discovered that children in this family seem to have an insatiable appetite for discovering information about their forebears. It also seems to be that the school they go to makes a big deal about the children learning genealogy, and get an assignment either in year 5 or year 6 where they have to trace their forebears back as far as they can.

I have to say I’ve always been curious, but never really did anything about it, except go back a few generations, i.e. those people we could remember, and, yes, we had eccentric aunts and uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers.

But my older brother, he got the bug, and went into genealogy in a big way, got himself a university degree, and then takes a trip or two overseas every year delving into the murky past of the Heaths and the Auhls.

The Heaths apparently came from Dorset in England, and the Auhls, somewhere in Germany. He told me, but I’ve forgotten, but I do have a file somewhere that tells me.

And being in Australia, it’s like gold if you have a forebear who was a convict, but unfortunately we didn’t, though I recently learned one of our forebears who came out to Tasmania, was a pseudo Luddite (he was arraigned as guilty by association, but he was no Luddite) in the 1860’s.

But finding a legacy somewhere amongst all those relatives is no mean feat, because it seems none of us were famous, and I haven’t broken the mold, or at least not yet. I might still get to be a (famous?) writer or blogger.

So I am sitting here wondering what the real definition of legacy is, if it can’t apply to wealth or fame. Could it be the next generation of Heaths, the grandchildren? Could one call them a legacy? We will no doubt eventually leave them behind to continue, and maybe one of them will be famous.

The youngest has a desire to be an artist, and she is quite good at drawing, The middle granddaughter wants to be a scientist, and is doing well at school. Of course, there are the middle years, where boys are not yet a distraction, so who knows what the future will bring. As for the eldest, being 16 going on 17 is just too hard.

How could you possibly know at 16 or 17 what it is you want to be? When I was that age I had a choice of being academic, ie maths and science, or hand’s on, a carpenter, sheet metal worker or mechanic.

I did work as a builder for a while, but moved to night switchboard operator/postman, shipping clerk, services manager, and then computer programmer, which none of my learning while at school had any bearing on, except perhaps for maths.

So I’m guessing my legacy was my children, and their legacy is their children, and so on.

As for fame, I don’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

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