I am looking for myself in my own family story and wonder where do I fit in the “thicket” of people? And there are a lots of them; artists, musicians, and lumber people who sacked the northwest of old growth trees, had a steamship company with seven ships which ferried lumber from Aberdeen and Raymond to San Francisco. They had so much timber that they built a small railroad to carry the fallen logs out of the woods to the mills.
It was a prosperous family business for many years, until the stock market crashes and bear markets sent the company into a financial tailspin. Soon they could not afford to repair their many older railroad trestles and had to sell their forested land to Weyerhaeuser. Every time I drive through Willapa Bay area I think of my family of lumber barons. I never knew them as I was the youngest of the extended family, but tales were told and when I heard them it was like they were talking about strangers.
My father, Lance, decided not to participate in the family business instead went to Chicago to study at the Art Institute and become an artist. Don’t know what his father thought about that but I think his mother probably supported him. The 1922 photograph I have hanging on my wall is of 26 Hart-Wood- Green family members. Looks like there was even a babe in arm and a few ancient senior members. My father looks tall and handsome standing in the back row. His mother, Emma, sits in front of him with the sweetest expression on her face an expression inherited by my dear Aunt Em. The senior lumbermen look stern but rather elegant in fashionable suits and ties.
My dad’s favorite cousin and best friend, Fred Hart, was a musician who taught composition and piano at Julliard in New York. I met him once briefly and he was composing an opera and played a tune or two from it. I feel like I am the ebb of the family, the last remaining bits of historical scatterings.