This morning, my friend Sarah sent a tweet:
Indeed, on this day in 1797, my great-great-several-great-something-or-other-by-way-of-her-husband, Mary Shelley was born. My father's father's people (the Shelley folks) are of English and Welsh descent. Somebody, some decades ago, somewhere in Eastern Tennessee did some digging, and realized that we are related to English Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley- and by extension, his Frankenstein-writing wife, Mary.
|We Shelleys tend to write our novels whilst looking |
wistfully off into the middle distance,
wearing fancy little off-the-shoulder numbers.
Thinking about Mary Shelley always leads me around to thinking about Mary Sawyer, my other Famous Mary Relation. You may never have known her last name, but I guarantee you know her. Every person who was ever a kid in America after 1830 knows Mary Sawyer. You probably know her best because of her pet: a little lamb.
My mother's father was a Sawyer from New York. In his thirties, he fell in love with a Southern belle and spent the rest of his days living below the Mason-Dixon line. I have never been north of the Mason-Dixon line (except for a layover once in Cincinnati), but I hear there are Sawyers I'm related to all over New England. Mary Sawyer, whose little lamb so famously followed her to school one day, is one of them.
And, there you have it. My literary and folkloric heritage, wrapped up in nice little Mary packages.