Currently I’m reading Edith Wharton’s brilliant The House of Mirth (1905). I came across this phrase–see below–which reminded me of the above photo of my Grandmother and Grandfather with their first car, and my grandparents each wearing their own version of “dust-hood and goggles.” The first cars didn’t have windshields, therefore glasses of some kind were a necessity.
..Mr. Gryce was touched by her disinterestedness, and, to escape from the threatened vacuity of the afternoon, had taken her advice and departed mournfully, in a dust-hood and goggles: as the motor-car plunged down the avenue she smiled at his resemblance to a baffled beetle.
One reason that I love this book so much is that I can identify with the lead character, Miss Bart. I feel that I really understand her.
I once did family research on Ancestry.com, trying to find out something about my father’s side of the family. I found out that I’m related to a family of English origin named Downes. The Downes were a prominent family in Denton, Maryland. The patriarch of the family fought in the civil war, so I’ve just learned from an email I received from a woman who is also from the Downes family. She said that she came across my great-grandfather’s name, but I’m not even sure what that was. Anyway, I went back on Ancestry.com attempting to do more research, and I only came up with more confusion. I’m not sure any more if I’m a distant Downes relative or not. This is one of the things my mind is preoccupied with right now. For so many years, I’ve had such a dearth of relatives that finding out that I have some family ties, no matter how distant, makes me feel a little less lonely–in a small way. It’s like an orphan discovering that they have had a family in the past. However, the whole thing is a little iffy until I can find out more. I’m beginning to think that I may only be related to the Downes through my step-grandmother on my father’s side, which isn’t being blood related.