August 6, 2011

Hazon Part 3

My mouth went dry (partially because it was hanging wide open) and my heart skipped a couple of beats.

” . . .right then . . . Whatdya’ ya want from me?” he asked, the distant shadow of a smile emerging on his face.

Quick thinking, articulate and socially apt man-of-the-world that I am, I instantly responded by saying, ” Ab, blugh aaaaamm, errr hmmmmm. . . . Ack.  . . .Really!?”

He stepped on to the porch and said, “Oh yeah! Gaw!, for40 years now, one of yuz seems to show up every now and again. The last one was a lawyer.Yer not a LAW-yer are ya’?”

“No.” I coughed out.

“Well, what do ya’ want from me?” He asked again, the smile on his face now solidifying, letting me know that he had his tongue in his cheek to at least some extent.

I continued to represent my mastery of conversation by replying, “Ab, blugh aaaaamm, errr hmmmmm. . . . Ack.  . . .do you have any stories . . . Um, what do you know . . . Ab, blugh aaaaamm, errr hmmmmm. . . . Ack. ”

He laughed and began what sounded like a bit of a prepared disertation about the hamlet of Hazon.  Honestly, I already knew much of what he shared about the early history, but it was frankly thrilling listening to this man tell me. 

The girls eventually came out of hiding, and so did Drew’s white haired “farmer’s wife” from central casting named, Mary. She happily scolded us for dropping by a farmers house at lunch time, but added to Drew’s stories about growing up in the village, added to the more recent history (our direct ancestor left Hazon around 1535). It seems that at some point in the last few hundred years, the Lyle family came to the estate. After that it gets blurry and complicated again, until Drew’s family arrive . . . In 1941 . . . And again, Drew is the “old timer”!

Drew and Mary still have 300 acres of the place, about 200 acres of pasture and the rest in oats and wheat. No barley . . .apparerntly the rooks get after it just as it ripens and it’s too much work.

We got the sense that dropping by the “big house” might not be a terribly welcome thing to do . . .and that was okay. By this time, the realization that my ancestor had already been in America long before even the oldest existing building in Hazon was built, was making me a little sad. 

Such a distance. 

We don’t take time seriously enough. 

We don’t tell enough stories, we don’t risk looking like fools to our children by introducing them to their own stories even when they squirm under the effect, and so we loose generations worth of connection.

There are 9 generations of Hazens who lived in America before me, and at least I have a few type written paragraphs telling the stories of some of them  (thanks to my father’s cousin, Bill . . . Bless you Bill, for carrying the family torch!) and there were probably 10 more generations before THOSE Hazens back here  in England . . . Most of the stories lost even to the “old timers”. There is a profound sadness in that.

BUT. . .  mixed with that sadness, back In 1963, just months after my mother married Tom Hazen (the 9th generation of Hazen in America), she found herself pregnant with the 10th. 

Knowing nothing of her husband’s history (for he knew almost nothing) she insisted over his protests to make my middle name the same as my great grandfather’s. She felt that keeping connections with the past was important. Rather than cause a fight, he relented saying something like, “. . . Whatever you want his middle name to be is fine . . . It doesn’t really matter.”

Little did she know that she had blessed me with the honor of carrying the very same name as  Edward Hazen ( the first of our family to set foot in the New World in 1641)all the way back to England in 2011. 

370 years.

There are connections if you look for them. We are all connected. the same Gospel, the same creation, the same river runs through us all. 

How is it possible that nearly 20 generations later, coming from a land that was not even imagined at the time, I would recognize the colors, the fragrance, the sounds, even the plants themselves in a tiny del in Northeast England? 

This was the place in Stanwood, Washington where I grew up! The way the light plays through the green leaves, the closeness of the air near the surface of the running water, the straining, squirming, wriggling life that permeates everything, covers every rock, hangs in the very air itself. I am not what you call WELL traveled, but I have been around enough to say with confidence that there is no place like my home near Puget Sound . . . Until now.

I was transported back to my childhood; 11 years old, plying the damp underbrush surrounding the stream under the trees behind our “old” farmhouse.

“Old” that’s funny to me now.

The point is: there are connections that we cant always see. Tissue that connects people to one another, and connect people to the land . . . then like a bolt through a loom, a person carries that thread from one city to another, one continent to another, one place, one family to another, one time to another . . .  and we are all connected.

4 thoughts on “August 6, 2011

  1. Hi Son
    So glad you have had this chance to connect with your families history and story. Thanks for taking all of along on the ride. Love to read these post, and will miss the travel part once you are home. Miss you all, but will be sad you have to come home so soon. Would be fun to hang there for a while longer I think.
    See you soon, Love mom

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