Family traditions run deep

After a phone call with my mom tonight I knew I’d be up a while. She’d mentioned a family name I’d not been familiar with, and that sent me family tree hunting. Usually that doesn’t turn up anything. Not this time. This time within 15 minutes, thanks to years of work by family (some of whom I’ve never met), I found all kinds of info, including the very detailed family tree going all the back to Germany.

Now, I guess it’s kind of cool that I found out that this decomposing castle in Germany is apparently the former abode of relatives (the family name is Isenberg/Eisenburg and goes back to Gerlach von Isenberg, a count of the Holy Roman Empire…maybe further back, but he’s the oldest recorded anyone’s found so far). But that stuff doesn’t really impress me much, since everyone’s ultimately related to everyone, counts and criminals both. And besides, the Isenbergs on our branch of the tree weren’t those that inherited the big house and what-not, and they came to America in the 1700’s and settled in Maryland.

No, what I’m really excited about was a discovery I made just as I was about to quit and go upstairs to find a warmer spot and some sleep (the heat kicked down to 60 nearly two hours ago when I was supposed to have been in bed under a warm comforter). I found the schedule of the Isenbergs’ reunion in 1899.

A while back an Isenberg daughter married into the Phemister family. Roy Phemister was my grandfather, and had 8 living brothers and sisters when I was a kid. That family could sing, and the reunions always were a time of singing (and Texas 42). My mother’s cousin, Wayne Phemister, could belt out the bass line of “Hide Me, Rock of Ages” like nobody’s business. We always ended with the same song: “God be with You till We Meet Again.” And what song closed the Isenberg reunion in 1899? Yep, the song that brings fond memories of my great-aunt Myrtle and her full soprano to mind–“God be with You till We Meet Again.”

Tradition runs deep. Some traditions should. I look forward to the fulfillment of that song. I look forward to the day of the Resurrection, when we will indeed meet again. Oh, what a singin’ we’re going to have!

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