Lilac blossoms

Whenever I smell lilacs in the air, I think of home. In my family, lilacs represent part of our connection to a place, and to past generations. Growing up as the sixth generation of my family to live on the original family farm in New York, I remember that our house was always surrounded with lilacs. Some of these, like the pale purple ones, grew from cuttings taken from the bushes that my maternal great-great grandmother Ella planted long ago. In May, my mother would always cut lilacs to make bouquets for our house, and to decorate the graves of our departed ancestors on Memorial Day. This bouquet-laying tradition at the local cemetery is something that goes back several generations, and is a time for our family to gather to remember and to share stories about our relatives. We visit the graves of Daniel, who emigrated from England in 1832, and Maryann, my great-great-great grandparents who established our family in this place, as well as those of more recent relatives. My roots, like those of the lilacs, are deep here, and no matter where I live, I will always call Otego, NY home. 

Place(s): Otego, New York
Year: 1832

– Megan Byrnes

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more