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"WHY DO WE PASSIONATLY REARCH FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY?"
Rough Draft 1—August 27, 2016
How I got the answer...
I received an e-mail letter from Richard Eugene Bliley in March of 2004 regarding my family history Web site. Attached to it was a delightful poem expressing his view of his family history work. What a poem! He titled it simply, “My Book”.
Several years ago, I tried to contact him to request permission to publish this work on my Web site. Much to my disappointment, his e-mail address at the police department where he worked no longer functioned and a second one I had was a dead-end as well. I know now that it was because of his retirement from regular police service. I also know that people in police work like to keep their private lives closeted for their protection. I know this first-hand, as my nephew is a police officer in Boulder, Colorado.
In the last few years, I would look for Richard on the Web in hopes of re-establishing a connection. I even called the police department to ask if they would forward a letter to him, but they declined.
In June of 2014, I did another search for Richard on the Web and sadly discovered he had passed away just a few weeks earlier at the age of 68. Boy was I surprised, and depressed. I hoped that as a retired person, he would find more time to explore our common ancestry.
To my surprise, I discovered his obituary that was published just a month earlier! He was 68, divorced and was recently married to woman named Becky. Bad timing and very bad for his recent bride. Being a widower myself, I could relate to her disappointment.
On the funeral home site, I discovered the loving poem he wrote to his last wife, “Just Because”, and cried. I have read it to several family members and their emotional response was virtually the same. One thing is for sure, he loved her deeply and knew how to express it through poetry.
Through these two poems, I was reminded not to stereotype individuals. You would think as police officer, he would be like a soldier--stoic, mechanical and dispassionate. I knew from his first poem, that was not the case and from the second one, he was a truly unique person of whom I wish I had the blessing of a relationship beyond a couple of e-mails and one phone call. I also knew of his love of music. Obviously, he had a “loud” alter ego.
I found Becky online and sent her a note of my story about Richard and the poem. I asked for permission to post his poem, “My Book”. A few days later, she replied with a loving and positive response in support for her “hero”.
She gave me permission to place his poem, “My Book”, on my family history site as an inspiration to others working in genealogy, and to honor his unique talent.
I may not have had that conversation with Richard about our common lineage, but he gave me an more unique gift of a beautiful poem.
Thank you Becky, and especially, thank you Richard for your public service as a police officer, and for allowing the world to be blessed by your talent in poetry.
Charles "Chuck" Arthur Bliley
Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Updated: August 27, 2016
By Richard Eugene Bliley
Barren empty faces on this family tree.
Loved ones without traces counting now on me.
Whispers heard in silence that only I can hear.
And as I try to find them, I feel their presence near.
I've found that some were farmers that left their land for war,
And some taught school or made the clothes that other people wore.
Their names on yellowed pages on some forgotten shelf
Begging me to find them and hence complete myself.
Then one-by-one I find the names or a picture torn with age,
And it fits my puzzle well this time and helps me fill the page.
This time it's someone's brother, last time I found his dad
As I sifted through the relics someone else forgot he had.
I've found their names on paper or etched in granite stone,
Or concealed within some Bible forgotten and alone.
But all it took was patience and a caring eye to look,
To place their names with loving care safe within my book.
Copyright 1996 by Richard E. Bliley. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, or republication of this work requires
the express consent of the author's surviving spouse, Rebecca Barnett-Bliley.
Reproduced here with permission, August 2016. Contact information available upon request.
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