Ancestor Appreciation Day

Day 27 - Ancestor Appreciation Day Vintage Bellows Camera Watercolor - Doodlewash

Today is Ancestor Appreciation Day, which is meant to be a day where you celebrate your heritage and your ancestry. Mine is a little blurry with just bits of information that my mother has given me, so I opted for a vintage camera for the day to bring a bit of the focus I wish I had. In truth, my family tree has so many forks in it that it’s all a bit of a mystery. My mother told me that my grandfather on my dad’s side pointed to where he came from on a map, but all she could remember was County Cork, Ireland. From there bits of Native American came into play including someone called “Blue” and nobody seems to know much of anything at all after that. I remember grilling her for these details once, but when they came back to me this convoluted, I was more confused than when I started. In truth, I would love to know my actual heritage, but I’m equally content celebrating the people that I actually did know that are no longer in my life. That grandfather who pointed to a map and my own father who has been gone now for over 15 years. My grandmother who almost made it to 100, but passed as the ripe old age of 99. These are my ancestors, though rather immediate, and I adore taking a moment to reflect on them and cherish the memory.

The only old photo I have in my possession is one of my mom’s side of the family. It shows her along with her three brothers and my grandmother and grandfather. Only two people in that photo are still alive today. My mother and one uncle. As time lurches forward, I know that one day, that photo will be the only thing left. A moment captured in time that can never be captured again. But I adore this photo and it’s one of my most prized possessions. I look at it every single day as a reminder of my heritage and the wonderful memories of childhood that spin back to me when I view it. So many things have changed over the years, and I myself continue to grow older each and every day. But when I see those people at that time when I wasn’t even an idea that might happen, it always brings me comfort. Life is richly grounded in the past, but we actually live each day in this very moment. What we choose to do with it is everything in the world. We won’t be here forever, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of every moment we experience along the way.

When I look at that old photo, I see the gleam in each person’s eye. The thoughts there, that are imagining something awesome, something even better than what is taking place in that moment. We all have this feeling burning in our soul and it’s the very thing that makes us human. Whether we know our actual heritage precisely or not, we can rest assured that we come from a long line of dreamers. That’s the very definition of being a human being. Sure, there’s those super creative folk we all admire, but dreams are not limited to people like that. We all share an amazing heritage, with each one of our ancestors imagining something more incredible that just might happen around that next corner. And in this moment, I’m humbled by the sheer thought of all of those dreams that came before me. I’m not the first of my ancestors to imagine something amazing, nor will I be the last. It’s hardwired into our souls. We’re not here to only admire history, but to make a little of our own along the way. That’s the beautiful circle of life that makes each and every day Ancestor Appreciation Day.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 27 - Ancestor Appreciation Day Vintage Bellows Camera Watercolor - Doodlewash

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Beautiful thoughts beautifully written.

  2. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    I’m so glad that I was able to visit Lossiemouth, Scotland and see the one-room house where my grandfather and his 13 siblings grew up, and to meet some of my relatives. We never knew enough about my other relatives to be able to do that. It makes you realize what those who came before had to do to give us the opportunites we had. Our generation isn’t grateful enough – I don’t think you could be.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      That’s fantastic that you got to see that one-room house and meet your relatives. 😃💕I agree… I think that level of gratitude would be nearly impossible to achieve. So much happened to put us where we are today.

  3. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    Very cool painting of an old camera! All 4 of my grandparents came from Italy and amazingly I can trace back to the late 1700s. The Catholic Church kept meticulous records, even in rural areas. All these ancestors came from an area about 20 miles square until my grandparents made the big break to America around 1900.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 And that’s so awesome!! How cool that you’re able to trace your roots back that far. I would love that!

  4. Lisa 4 years ago

    Another great essay! I inherited my grandma’s cedar chest full of old photos. It is such a treasure and I’m not sure what to do with it after I’m dead. I should talk to my only nephew I suppose. But I have a feeling he might not care. But I may be surprised. Okay. It’s on the list.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 And that’s awesome this inspired you to secure a place for those old photos. I bet he’ll want them… those kind of memories are the best of all!

  5. Anita Sinha 4 years ago

    Awesome painting…Such a well written blog..

  6. June Hadaway 4 years ago

    My goodness. Looks like you could just pick it up and take a picture. Nicely done.

  7. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 years ago

    When the title of your current post shows in my inbox, I always have fun trying to imagine what you might have painted. Sometimes I’m right, but this one had me stumped. What would you paint for Ancestor Appreciation Day? As soon as I glimpsed this antique camera, I realized what a perfect image it is. You painted it beautifully, achieving a richness of colors with only a few selected tubes.

    As is often true of your posts, your writing exceeds your Doodlewash. That’s not a criticism, as your paintings charm me, but a nod to the way you make me think about my own history while talking about yours. My ancestors came from the same part of the world, two probably from adjacent shtetls in Poland/Russia (depended on the army in charge, not the actual footprint of the villages.)

    We are indeed the genetic results of our heritage, but we are also the adventurers we choose to make of ourselves. Hopefully most of us follow worthy paths that find us respecting our pasts while stepping forward, building the foundation for those who follow.

    As always, thanks for a lovely painting and something to think about.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Aww thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… you had to guess it probably wouldn’t be actual ancestors since I don’t often paint people. Glad you liked my choice! And I’m thrilled you enjoy my writing! That makes me so happy. I always wanted to be a writer, and this blog has become my outlet for that. I hope people take the time to read what I write and not just look at the pictures. Thrilled you enjoy the words my friend!

  8. Marilyn Parigian 4 years ago

    Please go to and see what you can find out about your family. Fascinating journey back in time.

    Thank you for all the time and effort you surely put into your blog and paintings.. It is enjoyed and appreciated.

    Creative Blessings,

  9. Laura Hale 4 years ago

    Excellent Doodlewash! Since I have a small collection of vintage cameras, this is one of my favorites. Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with us.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Laura! 😃💕 Glad you liked this one! And yay to your collection. I have often thought about starting a vintage camera collection, but I get a bit addicted when it comes to collecting so I thought it best to never start! hehe

  10. smzang 4 years ago

    Aces all the way. It’s raining here and I’m chucking my to do list. Instead I’m going to pull out a box of old photographs and celebrate my ancestry. Thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Awesome!! That sounds like a far better and more enriching way to spend the day for sure! 😃💕

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