See, it’s not me!

Tracing the roots of one’s family tree seems to be quite popular these days. There are television commercials explaining how to go about it online; and while online there are countless popup ads that claim they can trace your roots all the way back to Adam and Eve.

What they don’t say is there is a cost to search. I’ve taken a few trips to such websites and have made it back one generation, maybe two, before my older generation relatives wanted my credit card number.

Sorry great, great, great relatives, that ain’t gonna happen. I’ll catch up with you guys when we meet in person some other time.

But sometimes the most interesting tidbits don’t come from genealogy experts, but by  word of mouth — from family. Who would know the family better than family members?

That’s why it’s good for younger people to pick your grandparents brains whenever you can. The stories are great and you can pass them on to the next generation — at no cost!

I was recently talking to my brother Paul about our pépère Ernie Vautrin. He’s the one grandfather of my two that I most remember. I loved pépère Ernie. He’s the guy who would save the Boston Record-American sports page for me every day. He’s the guy who was always out in his yard with his plethora of grandchildren; all of whom loved the teddy bear.

My pep came up in conversation because my brother was taunting me about the recent “success of the Red Sox.” Then he went on to tell me that my beloved pépère would sit in front of the TV when the Sox were on (not nearly as much as today) and yell at the players.

I was incredulous — for two reasons. One, I never saw my pépère angry, and two, I’ve always done the same thing.

I then told my brother that I bet my pep’s language wasn’t as salty as mine when I give the Sox a piece of my mind today. My brother shook his head and said, “Umm, I don’t know about that.” What!?

I immediately turned to Emilie who was sitting with us and with a big old grin on my mug said, “See, it’s not me. I got it from my grandfather! It’s in the genes.”

I’m proud to share that passion for the Red Sox with my pépère. I would love for him to have seen the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004, but having been born in 1886, he experienced his share of championships; in 1903 (Boston Americans), 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918, with a Boston Braves title in the mix in 1914.

I have some great memories of pépère Ernie, but sitting together and spouting off at the Sox isn’t one of them. That would have been great, especially having a beer with him, with a raw egg added to the brew for good measure.

It’s nice to learn I’m more like the man I so admired than I thought. That’s something I never would have gotten from a family tree website. There are lots of great free stories out there people. Just look for them.

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