The marriage record of my great-grandparents, Jonathan Andrus and Amarilla Barnes, dated August 16th, 1871, contains a box where “B” (Bachelor) or “W” (Widower) was to be entered – no other possibilities considered, apparently. Instead of a B or a W in this box, there is an asterisk, and in the space for “Remarks” is found: “In filling up the Schedule after the parties were married it was ascertained that the Bridegroom has a wife living who has forsaken him.”

In every life there are events
Perceived as luck or chance;
Some are lengthy, drawn-out times,
Others momentary happenstance.

My great-grandfather wed a Maid,
Their love brought forth a son,
But something caused their vows to break,
Leaving man and boy alone.

He loved again, perhaps of need,
Took Amarilla for his bride,
The Maid’s name in whispers hushed away,
And in time her memory died.

The Maid’s son grew to manhood;
One day he took a wife.
No offspring blessed their union;
No descendants came to life.

From Second Wife my life-line flows,
Fate’s beneficiary:
Had not the Maid forsaken him,
My great-grand’s would not have married.

Then who would write these silly lines?
Who’d trace the family tree?
And would a descendant of the Maid long gone
Have hair of red like me?

One thought on “Lifeline

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