My Story

All of us have a story. Where we came from, where we are, where we’re going. The odds that you or I are even here to be able to live our story are so infentesimal, it’s practically zero. There are so many variables that have to happen for the right cells to come together at the right time to produce you, a human being. But you are, and that is amazing.

Learning about my genealogy recently, I discovered just how insane it is for me to be here typing this.

On my father’s side, the furthest we can trace back our family is Robert Henderson. Robert was born around 1744 in what was Virginia, but is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The records of his birth have so far been lost to time, but we think that his father came to the colonies from Scotland before Robert was born.

In his early 30’s, Robert enlisted in the army and even crossed the Delaware River under a little known General named George Washington. After the war, he purchased land in Kentucky and settled down. His brothers came and built their own houses as more people started arriving, and the little town of Olive Hill was born. Seven generation of Henderson men were born in Olive Hill until my father usurped nearly two hundred years of tradition.

You see, my grandfather, if he’s at all like me, was probably a restless sort, and when he was old enough, he set out to see the world by becoming a sailor in the United States Navy. He was stationed in Hawaii with his wife when my father was born, the first son of a son of a son of Robert Henderson to be born outside of Kentucky. Had my grandfather stayed in Olive Hill, I wouldn’t be writing this today.

But the story doesn’t end there. For my mother and father to meet, they would have to be in the same place at the same time, and living the military life doesn’t always make that easy. 

After years of traveling around the country, my grandfather was stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia where my father went to high school and met my mom, who was born and raised in Virginia along with the rest of her family.

Actually, that’s a lie.

When my father’s father’s father’s were raising there children in rural Kentucky after this country was founded, through the Civil War, and into the 20th century, my mother’s family was living in a very small town named Roccamorice. In the Old World. In Italy. My great-great-grandfather, Giovanni, was born there on September 26, 1878. Had he stayed in that small town like his ancestors before him, I would not be writing this today.

Giovanni, though, was destined for the shores of America. He came through Ellis Island in New York City no less than three time over the course of around ten years. In 1909, he brought his wife and three children here for good, landing in Boston before settling 35 miles north, in the city in Essex. Giovanni became known as John in the 1930 US Census, and all of his children had been given Americanized names. My great-grandfather Edward, being one of them.

Edward would eventually leave Essex and move to Seattle, Washington where he met my great-grandmother. She being descended from a French father and a Swedish mother further add to the complications of my existence. Edward and Essie would go on to marry and have a child, my grandfather, who at some point in his young life decided to leave the bustling metropolis of Seattle and also see the world. As a sailor in the United States Navy.

In the early 1960’s, he was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii where my mother was born, in the same hospital as my father. They would travel around the United States living on the West Coast, in Maine, in Massachusetts, and I believe in Minnesota, for I have no other way to explain my mother’s love for the Minnesota Vikings. When my mother was a teenager, her family was transferred to Virginia Beach, Virginia where she would go to high school and meet my father.

There are so many variables that could have happened to prevent me from being a part of the story of the human race, but against all of those odds, I am here, and writing this today.

What is your story? Where are you from? Where are you going? I want to be a part of your story, to help share it with the world. Because through seemingly insurmountable odds, you and I are both here, in this place, at this time, and your story deserves to be told.