On December 25, 1980, I gave birth to a 10 pound, 9 ounce baby boy my husband and I named Christopher Orlando Knapp. Best Christmas gift ever. He is funny, smart, kind, loving, honorable, truthful, and one of those people who makes your day.
Today I discovered an email that had been sent to me yesterday, on Christmas, from a descendent of John M Lemon, the brother of my great-grandfather, Isaac B Lemon. I have obsessed about John M for a long, long time. He was very important to my great-grandfather, and to my grandfather. He has become very important to me as well. I researched his life for hours, trying to find him in census records, combing page after page online trying to find him after 1920. Every once in a while I'd make a surprise discovery, such as the fact that he had been married twice, the first time when he was young, and his wife died not long after having their first child, a son. I felt badly for him. It's never easy for a parent to be left alone with a small baby to care for, but back in the 1800's, it had to be brutal.
He married again and had another son. That son grew and married and then his wife died relatively young and left him with two children, one an infant only a few days old. That must have resonated deeply with John M. By that time John M's wife, Lavina, had also died, so it was two men alone with two small children, one a days-old infant. Can't have been easy.
So I received an email from the daughter-in-law of that motherless infant. That was so exciting, I lost my breath. Literally. I've been sick with a terrible cold that Knapper kindly passed to me. He was able to seek medical attention for his illness, which was diagnoised as "walking pneumonia" and "bronchitis" and the flu. He got a boat-load of medication and started feeling better in a relatively short time. I have no job and no insurance and have had to tough it out. Christmas Eve night we celebrated our family Christmas and I ended up having to go to bed early, leaving everyone to enjoy their presents without me. So when I tell you I was so excited I became breathless, I'm serious.
I'm still excited. I have made contact finally with my great-grand uncle's family. It blows my mind.
It's too much to hope that they have pictures of John and his son John Clayton. It would sure be nice.
But I'm happy just to have made contact.
Like I said: Seond. Best. Christmas. Gift. EVER.