A little tribute to our relative by Edward Sylvester Rumsey, Jr.

A number of years ago, I began searching desperately for details about the history of my great grandmother Phoeba Adeline Holland. I remember her with tremendous respect and joy, and she was probably one of my best friends. Her life was as tender and unhurried as if it were Mendelssohn's On Wings of Song or Massenet's Twilight or Clara Schumann's - not yet Clara Schumann but Clara Wieck - Romance in A-flat, Opus 11. Phoeba displayed with humility and dignity the ambiance of women of her time - crochet, tatting, knitting, lace making, millinery, linens, household organization, table manners, a listening ear for children, and exemplary respect for the family arrangement ...a continuing enumeration.

It had been exceedingly difficult to locate the details that I needed. By mere coincidence Arthur Clark, a Holland cousin, and I began our correspondence. My collection improved immensely thanks to his work and the days that we spent lingering together in old stories! Arthur was educated at Mercer University, University of Alabama and MIT where his major was High Energy Physics. He was employed by Teledyne Space Systems and Honeywell Scientific where he worked as a scientist in nuclear research, medical instrumentation and energy optimization. The old dude then retired and lived in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina - a place that he called a quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem. His research motivated me to study further until I was able to complete my genealogy. Through Arthur, I met Diana Holland Faust, our principal researcher for the Holland Family. Arthur and I commented in one of our last email epistles about Diana’s marvelous, exemplary work.

Now I hear that we have lost Arthur, and I take a moment to ask myself why I even initiated my own collection about family. No need for a Wagnerian Der Ring des Nibelungen. Yet there are motivations. An ancient maxim indicates that an entire library is burned to the ground each time a person dies. I realized that I needed to jot down the few basics and hand them on. Perhaps one of our young ones may someday wish to learn more, to be informed about his or her past. Perhaps one of our young ones might care to continue to add the names and dates as new generations appear and as others of us retreat. I recalled the words of Edmund Burke who said, "Those who do not cherish the memory of their ancestors do not deserve to be remembered by posterity." I am sure that Arthur had a similar motivation for his research.

Even the most assiduous research cannot tell everything nor can strange, vanished days be relived. So much is left unsaid. Perhaps it is best to leave some things unsaid. It has taken years of research in order to somehow meaningfully understand and recount the journey and the contributions of our Hollands. The story must not be ignored. The contributions made by Arthur to tell that story were those of one deficient builder's sincere attempt to share the heart, soul and beauty of the family. Now that we appraise our past, we fall within the bounds of the words of T. S. Eliot, "we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

Arthur Lee made the trek. Our vivid, rich characters like Arthur were perhaps somewhat of a mystery to us as we surely must now perplex our younger ones. The old folks did not let us in on what we might have understood to be their deepest thoughts. Even so, they gave us values. Our hearts still hear. We hear the whys and remember that they cheered us on. That is important. Who will keep family alive in our hearts? The work and research of our friends and family - like Arthur. We stand at Hadrian's Wall, look north, and remember our friend and relative. Family makes a good story better, the unforgettable, loving, captivating, precious, complicated and fallible souls that we call family.

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This Holland site Published 10 July 1996  This page added 26 April 2010   Last updated 10 March 2014

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