Connecting With the Past
One of the things I remember from my early childhood is visiting my great-grandfather Edgar “Pop” Keating in the nursing home. Although he was in his nineties when I knew him and died when I was only eight-years-old, I do distinctly member visiting with him because he always had a piece of candy for me and always called me by my brother’s name. My children never had the opportunity to meet their great-great-grandfather Pop, but earlier this week my oldest son did have the opportunity to connect with his great-great-grandfather.
It is an annual tradition for the second-year Webelos Scouts in my son’s pack to take a trip to Jefferson City, Missouri. It is a trip each boy looks forward to because they ride an Amtrack train from Union Station to Jeff City. Once they arrive, the boys get to tour the Capital Building, the Supreme Court, the Governor’s Mansion, and they make a trip to the Nature Center. They also get to meet some of the members of Congress and they are introduced on the Senate floor.
This year, it was my son’s turn to be a part of the trip to Jefferson City. Although I couldn’t get off work to go with him, my wife was able to go. Before they left, I gave my wife a special mission. Her mission, which she chose to accept, was to find one of the photos of Pop in the capital and take my son’s picture with it. You see great-grandfather “Pop” Keating served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1930-1938 and again in 1942. He then served in the Missouri State Senate from 1944-1968.
Monday afternoon, while they were touring the Capital, my wife and son broke away from the group and started searching for one of the photos of Pop. Knowing the only had a few minutes to spare; they quickly searched the walls that contain photos of each member of Congress, until they reached the year 1949. Sure enough, just to the right of the first nine in 1949, they found a picture of Ian’s great-great-grandfather. My wife took several photos of my son standing next to the photo of Pop before they headed back to the group.
Although my son never got to meet Pop, he now “knows” him and what he did for a living. He also knows that his great-great-grandfather left an important legacy in our family. My son was very impressed to actually know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that his great-great-grandfather served in the Missouri Congress and he is just a little more proud of his family now. He feels more connected to his past and thinks that it was really cool to get his picture taken with Edgar “Pop” Keating.