Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Elusive Bumbak-A Poem

By Miriam B. Medina

 The task of identifying ancestors is often time-consuming, frustrating and expensive. Between postage, photo copies, costly subscriptions, travel, and the rental of micro-films from the Family History Center, one can go broke without sniffing any positive results. Frankly, it requires a great deal of patience, like running in a marathon. Just when we think we've caught up with our elusive ancestors they suddenly take off, disappearing without leaving so much as a trail of dust behind them for us to continue sniffing.

Papa was my elusive ancestor. He was a mystery to all of us. As he died when I was very young, genealogy was the furthest thing from my young mind. Mama, who was Papa's third wife, didn't help matters. She threw away all his belongings and papers after he died. Even as an adult, it didn't occur to me to pursue my father's past until years later, after mama's death. I was angry with myself for never questioning mama or any of my relatives that knew papa before he died. Now they are all deceased, and the dead can't talk.

Regrettably, my elusive father,
You've led me on a dreadful chase
I thought I found your records
Yet somehow they've been misplaced...
You lived your life with your bags packed
Changing addresses and names as you went along,
In case someone might ever search for
Some proof that you were alive for very long.
I searched and searched till I had my fill
Finding no clues in Privic Luka, Argentina and Brazil
You left no trail, in spite of seven offspring's,
That I know of, and there may be others still...
The Bumbak surname is from Europe, that much is clear
And mama always told us that you were a seaman on a ship...
So either they've lost the crewmen's list over the years
Or Papa, you were too clever and gave them the slip.
Maybe you slipped through Canada,
Or one of the New England States...
But under what name did you enter,
It would be helpful if there was a date...
I'm the only one that's searching,
And dead-ends are all that I find...
But it makes me quite sad to think
Puzzled children are all you left behind.
Between history and microfilm searched,
And what little there is left of you
I'm frustrated and confused,
So what am I to do?
I find scraps here and there
On the 1920 census, an Aurora you wed,
Then came Lorenza and Mercedes,
More work to search ahead...
I know our name is on your headstone,
I've been there several times...
But yet you're still a mystery to me
And to those you've left behind...
Somewhere you must have blundered
Somewhere I'm sure you must have left a track
But if this year, I can't find you
Don't worry Papa Dear, I will be back...

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