Friday, March 6, 2009
You'll Always Come Back ~ The Poet:
Yesterday I visited my cousin Peggy, to show her some images I'd found of the first Dutton homeplace, here and in Virginia.
She surprised me with a letter, written by her grandfather, William Perry Cundiff. Describing exactly how Peggy and I are cousins still requires a complex map - suffice for now to say that her grandparents were 1st cousins, and the genetics of the Cundiffs and Duttons are and were quite intertwined, both before and after Wiliam Perry's time.
When I started work on You'll Always Come Back I thought I would be able to pick and choose my subjects. History is a different sort of plan ~ some individuals, however interesting their lives might be, leave little trace upon the earth behind them.
Others, dull as dishwater perhaps, leave plenty. What I hadn't expected to find amongst my deceased relatives was a poet. William Perry Cundiff certainly was one, as these two artifacts show. Peggy had given me the poem about waiting some time back, not knowing who had written it. Her later discovery of the letter in rhyme shows the same hand, and is signed.
An inclination to poetry - could it be genetic? Or just a result of the repeated intermingling of two families who were bookish?
I haven't made out all the words yet - W.P. uses two forms of "e" & sometimes uses an "f" for and "s" as was the practice of that time. Besides these two documents, all I know of him are these photographs from Lucretia's little leather-bound album of tintypes, and that he worked at one time as a whiskey taster.