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Follow Friday - How Green Was My Valley

I been very busy of late trying to put a 200 page family history book to print. So I haven't been posting as often but the end is in sight and I will pick up the pace again very soon. However, today on this Follow Friday, I want to share a quote I came across that we are putting in the family history book. I thought it was a beautiful quote that family historians could find great meaning in.

From How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn:

"I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come, I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front to see my son, and his son and the sons upon sons beyond. And their eyes were my eyes.
As I felt, so they had felt and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning and no end, and the hand of his father grasped my father's hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand, and all, up and down the line that stretched from Time That Was to Time That Is, and Is Not Yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man, made in the Image, fashioned in the Womb by the Will of God, the Eternal Father."

How Green Was My Valley is a 1939 novel by Richard Llewellyn,  based on his Welsh family and the community where they lived. It was later proven that Llewellyn was English born and the story was created from conversations with local mining families. The book was later made into a movie and there were subsequentlly follow up books to the story. I have not read the book, but after discovering the quote I am intriqued. If you have read the book, please let us know what you thought.


Nancy said...

I absolutely love How Green Was My Valley. The movie is good but the book is better, in my opinion. I read it about 6 years ago before beginning serious work on my family history. I'd seen the movie on TV a long time ago and when searching for some books to read after a surgery, that one presented itself. It was of interest to me because we have miners in our family, though they are not Welsh. I think it's a book well worth the read. I suspect I would have remembered the quote had I been working on my family history when I read the book. It's a great quote. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

How Green Was My Valley....this was one of those situations in which I saw the film long, long before I read the book. In fact, I watch the film as often as I can encounter it on television. The book came into my life years later. Some would say that it is sentimental and perhaps it is. That is what I love about the novel .... the family relationships, the parental sacrifices, the connection the characters feel to the reality of their environment and to their roots.

Michele said...

I also found a quote from this book that I am using for my family history book. My great grandfather came from Wales to Canada when he was almost 50 with his wife and four of his five children. He had been a baker in Wales, but came to Canada to farm -- quite a transition! The quote expresses feelings I image many immigrants feel leaving a loved home and land:
"I am packing my belongings in the shawl my mother used to wear when she went to the market. And I'm going from my valley. And this time, I shall never return. I am leaving behind me my fifty years of memory. Memory. Streams that the mind will forget so much of what only this moment has passed, and yet hold clear and bright the memory of what happened years ago - of men and women long since dead. Yet who shall say what is real and what is not? Can I believe my friends all gone when their voices are still a glory in my ears? No. And I will stand to say no and no again, for they remain a living truth within my mind. There is no fence nor hedge round Time that is gone. You can go back and have what you like of it, if you can remember. So I can close my eyes on my Valley as it is today - and it is gone - and I see it as it was when I was a boy. Green it was, and possessed of the plenty of the earth. In all Wales, there was none so beautiful."

For those of us who write a family history, the writer tells us there is "no fence ... around time...You can go back and have what you like of it, if you can remember." Of course, one must make the effort to do so.