Thursday, November 27, 2008

Heirloom of the Week

Continuing the inventory of odd heirlooms, this week we showcase the only two personal items I inherited that belonged to my great-grandfather Elmo Elisha Hodge. These are glass containers - one with his toothbrushes still inside and the other that would have held his tooth powder. Remarkable that they survived down through the years and ended up in my care.

The Hodge line has been much on my mind these past couple of weeks as new information is coming in right and left recently. The more I find out about my Hodge ancestors, the more they intrigue me.

Elmo lived only to see his 24th year. He died while enlisted in the Navy under an assumed name. After his death, somehow his true identity was determined and his belongings were returned to his widow Cora, from whom he had been estranged. Among the items returned was Elmo's diary, which Cora burned.

I don't know that I will ever be able to forgive her that transgression. I've always assumed that he had been less than kind to her in its pages and if I had been in her shoes, I might have felt like destroying it was the right thing to do.

But - how I would have loved to know what he had to say about his father's shenanigans. How I would have loved to know what he had to say about his sisters - Molly who died at the tender age of 15 and Rosa, the baby of the family. How I would have loved to know what he thought about his Huddleston grandparents.

And perhaps he said nothing about any of them. But how I would have loved to read his words on any subject and to study his handwriting for character traits. The tragedy of his early death kept his two children from ever knowing the man who was their father. The burning of the diary robbed them of the chance to know his thoughts.

A treasure was lost in that decision.


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