First of all: No, Dad, I am not writing your obituary! That was his question to my mother when I sent them the rough draft of the story I wrote for this website about his first 40 years of life. I wanted him to have the opportunity to review it before I published it to make sure he is OK with the content. Geesh!! So, why feature a story about Ken Bare on our family ancestry website when he's still very much alive and healthy?
As I have been building this website and working on our family tree I have come to the realization there is quite a bit I don't really know about many of my relatives. And I have a lot of questions. Some are questions I’ve always had, and some are about things I’ve learned the past few years. And, of course, for the website I want to add stories about my Dad and the memories he has of his family, what it was like growing up in rural Idaho and then North Carolina, fighting in World War II, meeting my mother and the rest of the Jernbergs, etc. But, have you ever tried getting information out of Ken Bare?
Anyone who knows my Dad knows he doesn’t talk much - especially compared to the rest of us. And getting him to talk when you specifically ask him to do so is almost impossible! As a child and young adult, most of my friends, ALL of my boyfriends, and even my ex-husband thought my Dad didn’t like them because he usually had a stern look on his face and he RARELY – if ever - talked to them. My typical response was, "Don’t take it personally; (a) that’s the way his face always looks and (b) he’s my own Dad and he doesn’t talk to me either."
Because my Dad has always been a little more talkative to my mother than to us kids, I asked her if she would ask my dad some questions and record what he says - just like she and her sister Elaine did with Grandpa and Grandma. Her reply was if she turned on a tape recorder, he would not talk at all. Needless to say I was not at all surprised - that’s my Dad. Ken Bare is smart and observant, a hard-working man, a devoted husband, a quietly loving and caring father and grandfather, and a strong but slightly shy and silent type of guy – and sometimes he can be extremely stubborn!
It has also become very apparent to me that my Dad rarely asked his relatives questions about his own family! For example, most of us on the Bare side of the family grew up being told my Dad and his siblings had a full blooded Cherokee great great grandmother or 3 times great grandmother. Yet, my Dad has no idea what her name was or even which side of the family she was on. Most surprising to me is the fact he did not know his own great grandmother and great grandfather were both raised in a cave! At this point, most of the Bare family history I know has come a little from other members of the Bare family or their wives, but mostly it's come from genealogy and historical newspaper websites. In fact, I have learned more about the Bare family in the past few month than I ever knew about them growing up! But now I have even more questions than I did when I started this adventure. However, records on genealogy sites, even "official" records, are not always accurate.
So, I decided to use a little different approach for getting information about my Dad. I am going to feature him in an on-going article on the website. Over the next few weeks, months, and years, I’ll add information about him from a variety of sources. Also, I'm hoping it will trigger memories others have of my Dad and they won't mind sharing them with me. I’ll add what little I know about my dad, some stories I and my brothers heard him telling relatives in North Carolina or poker buddies and old friends or relatives at night when our parents thought we were sleeping, some stories about him I’ve heard or will hear from others, and stories he occasionally tells my mother that she then relays to me. I’m sure he will speak up and tell us if we get anything wrong.
One final note: there are some fun and interesting stories I know about my dad that either he or my mother don’t want me to add to the website right now, so out of respect I won’t publish them - for now. However, in that list are some of my favorites, so someday down the road I will add them to the website because they really are great stories!