Observations of America and My Ancestral Past: An Epistolary Autobiography

In 2014, I traveled around the country to inform my first cousins about the new information I had researched about our grandfather on ancestry.com. A secondary purpose of the trip was to cross off many items on my bucket list. What happened on the trip is the subject of this book. The trip covered twenty-five thousand miles around the country from Indio, California, circumventing the country in a counterclockwise fashion.

What I discovered about our country is its magnificent beauty. From the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean resides more geographic beauty than anyone can comprehend. The stunning farmland that we possess is just unmatched in the world. The majestic mountains in Colorado and Wyoming are so impressive that one cannot get enough of their magnificence. The great national parks, the Grand Canyon, and Mount Rushmore are sites that are too incredible to capture in words. At the same time, Americans have blighted the landscape with heaps of used cars and abandoned houses. It is unsettling to learn that some people just have no respect for the land they possess.

Aside from the geography of our country, we have some of the most gorgeous cities in the world. From Chicago to New York to New Orleans to Charleston and Savannah, the tremendous architectural differences of our country are something to behold. Getting around these cities was challenging, but a sound guidance system helped me enjoy our great cities.

My trip took me to the site of many of our great American authors whose books I taught for years as an English teacher in a California high school. I wanted to see the boyhood home of Mark Twain and the home he had built in Hartford, Connecticut. His life and wisdom were things I admired as a teacher. I also wanted to see Walden Pond, the cabin Henry David Thoreau lived in, and the homes of Emerson, Alcott, Longfellow, Hawthorne, and Melville, among others. I was satisfied that I could validate what I taught about these authors. I learned that Thoreau was quite a gardener, making gardens for the authors Emerson and Hawthorne.

My great adventure also took me to the doorsteps of many of my first cousins on my father’s and mother’s side of the family. I shared with them the knowledge I had gained from research about our ancestral past. The cousins’ reactions to what they learned about their grandfathers were something none of them knew during their parent’s lifetimes. The ancestral past was essential to me because I was unsure of the origin of both sets of grandparents, and learning what it was allowed me to share this with my family. How people reacted to this information was significant.

I also ventured into our country’s historical past and visited those places where the foundation of our country was laid. It was essential to know about the founding fathers of our country, what they believed, and how they lived. I share with the reader my observations of America in the year 2014. $12.99 on Kindle.
amazon buy now