My paternal grandmother was very connected to her past and her family history. She talked to me often about her life when she was a child, and her mother who had died when my grandmother was a young girl. She grew up where her family had lived for many, many generations, among her people. As is so common in American life in the 20th century, her family drifted away. Her son moved to first one coast, then the other, and her daughter went to San Diego, where she eventually followed. As a result, I didn’t grow up among “my people.” My relatives are flung all over the country, from corner to corner.
Nate, on the other hand, has lived and still lives among his people. His ancestors came over from England in the 1600s, and have been within 100 miles of where we are now ever since.
We were in New Salem, MA on a lovely day last month having a picnic at our favorite picnic spot, the Quabbin Overlook. On the way out, we decided on a complete whim to visit the cemetery, thinking there might be some Paiges or Cadwells in there.
We wandered around, looking at the very old gravestones, some of them so faded and worn away that we could hardly make them out. Then we came upon this one:
In Memory of Mrs. Lydia Paige, wife of Capt. Timothy Paige, who died June 7th, 1816 in the 75th Year of her Age.
This is the woman who Lydia is named after. When Nate and I were trying to find a girl name that we both liked, we went back through Nate’s family tree looking for a pretty name that would have some family significance, and there was Lydia Putnam Paige, with her beautiful name. And so our Lydia became Lydia. Lydia Paige is our Lydia’s 6th great grandmother.
Her husband was Timothy Paige, who was a captain in the Revolutionary War. His grave was right next to his Lydia’s:
This one says:
Erected In memory of Mr. Timothy Page who died March 17, 1811 in the 72nd year of his age.
There were many more relatives there – we spent a long time wandering the aisles talking about history and family and life in western Massachusetts through the ages. A few weeks later, we went to the town cemetery in Warwick and browsed some more. I feel so blessed that my kids can experience their roots in a way that I never could.
Lydia with her namesake.