While driving home from the SCWW Conference Sunday, it echoed around in my cranium. I am the family face… I am the family face… What is that? Where have I heard that? Then I could see myself in Dr. Stevenson’s poetry class at Converse 33 years ago. That’s all I could remember. I googled that phrase when I got home. It’s Thomas Hardy’s poem, Heredity. Yeah, yeah. I remember now.
And what fanned this spark? At the conference I met a distant relative who shares several physical traits to those in my Kuykendall/Ward line - my brother's chin and eye-tooth gap, the head shape of my best fishing buddy, Papa, my uncle's eyelids, our long slender fingers, broad shoulders, good cheek bones.
I have a picture of my grandpa sitting in his momma’s lap and his brothers are standing between her and my great-grandpa. All those children look like we did when we were tiny and they look like my babies too. Momma said that we all look alike when we are babies, then we individualize, then we favor again when we get old. Daddy said we looked like Winston Churchill. They Law!
I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
The years-heired feature that can
In curve and voice and eye
Despise the human span
Of durance--that is I;
The eternal thing in man,
That heeds no call to die.
by Thomas Hardy