Sometimes it takes a few back and forth conversations with descendants before someone hands me a nugget. Like this one that came to me from Linda Clarkson Pagnini, daughter of Arthur Clarkson.
Near the end of his life, as Arthur lay in bed, his daughter read to him the poem, Invictus by William Ernest Henley. When she came to these words -
In the fell clutch of circumstance
Arthur wept. Then he said these marvellous words: “Life can beat you up, for sure, but you can’t let it break you.”
When I wrote Arthur’s story, these words became the center-piece.
|Cecilia Jowett, front row right|
Oh, I’d never take a child like that into my home, I have heard ladies say. You never know how they will turn out. And there was I, a graduate nurse, in their homes, rendering skilled assistance, perhaps saving, or helping to save, a life. Yet they didn’t dream I was one of those children.
|Grace Griffin Galbraith|
|William Edwin Hunt, back row, left|
I never look in the rear-view mirror, I just keep moving forward. William Edwin Hunt, immigrated, age fourteen, 1906, through Smyly’s of Ireland.