If, as they say in most every mystic tradition, being the seventh son of a seventh son is a big deal, then what is there to say about me? I am the only daughter of an only daughter of an only daughter. Our line ends here. Is there nothing mystically inherent in that?

One of my cousins asked me...well, actually, she asked me many questions and among them were these: Why are we still in communication with each other when there is enough of an age difference that we don't know each other very well? She was grown and out of the house by the time I was aware of her, but I adored her mother, who was my great-aunt. My mother adored both of them. So why wouldn't I want to be in touch with her? She is a link in a very tiny chain. Which brought the next question: Why am I so obsessed with finding Lillian Rube and the rest of my long-lost family?

That I cannot answer. I can only say that I am called to her. Or she calls to me. I have her face. I took care of her child, my mother, at the end of her life when she was little more than the infant Lillian left behind ninety-odd years before. I have a piece of her handwork, an embroidered sampler which reads "The Last Rose of Summer." It was unfinished at the time of her death and is unfinished still, almost 100 years later. I can't finish it. I have considered framing it, but who would care about it after I am gone?

My mother was the only daughter of her mother, indeed, the only child. Her mother was the only child (I think) of her father, but one of many sisters born to the same mother. So there I am: the only daughter of the only daughter of the only daughter. Who were these women? Are they the reason I work with my hands? Are they why I cook? Do I have their hands, their hips, their impossibly curly hair? Who were their mothers? Why is it so hard to trace the matrilineal line in genealogy?