It was obvious…right there at my fingertips…right in plain view. Yet I did not see the real connection. I did not feel it. It took a couple of years before I had that “aha” moment that should have occurred instantaneously upon discovery. He was named after his grandfather, a grandfather he never met or knew.
The grandfather was born in Maine when it was still a part of Massachusetts in 1817. His parents were farmers. He, however, had wanderlust in his blood. As a youth, he headed out for Boston to work on the ships. Ill health drove him back home to his family. When he regained his strength, he took off again as he traveled through the territories of the Midwest: Minnesota and Wisconsin. For a time, he lived near Chicago. He tried his hand at different occupations. He married, but his wife and newborn son died. He was restless and itchy…he made his home for short periods of time in many places. While in Wisconsin, he managed a brickyard. He met a mother and daughter who were the first women to settle in the village. He had his eye on the daughter and admired her work ethic and strength. They married, and together they roamed through Iowa. Finally, they settled in Osborne County, Kansas. He became a successful sheep farmer. They parented nine children. He was finally putting down roots. His name was Andrew Storer…no middle name graced his name. He died in 1895.
The grandson was born in a cave on his parents’ farm…the year after his grandfather’s death. He had a twin sister. The family farm eventually expanded and included a real home, a real farmstead. The grandson learned to farm and to acquire a love of the land. He loved horses and dogs. He was shy and soft-spoken. He remained in Osborne County for his whole life…wanderlust was not part of his inherited genes. He married a local girl and raised two daughters. His name was Andrew Earl Storer…a middle name did grace his name. He and his grandfather shared the same name. He died in 1977.
What was it like to be named for someone he did not know? Were stories told to him of the feats and fates of his grandfather? Did he ride his horse on his grandfather’s land to survey all that his namesake had settled? Did he tell his daughters about his namesake? All the voices are quiet now as the wind blows through the wheat fields of these farmlands. All is just speculation, dreams, and questions.