I always knew I was addicted to work.
But when I had a full-blown anxiety attack last night because I was leaving the city, that put things in a whole new light.
I actually convinced myself that I wasn’t going to bring my laptop with me.
For the past month, and every time the subject has come up, I told myself, and others, that I wasn’t bringing my laptop on this trip. And then low-and-behold, two days before I’m set to leave, I simply said, “Screw it.”
What’s worse: not bringing my laptop and having to work off my phone, or at a computer someplace, or bringing my laptop and stressing about it?
First world problems, I know.
But my laptop is my life, sadly. I actually have dreams, several times per week, that I lose it. Also sad…
In any event, as you read this on Wednesday, know that I am in London, England, having a jolly ‘ole time, and trying to deal with the 5-hour time difference while refusing to give up control of my business to my more-than-capable team back home, who begged me to “leave Toronto in Toronto,” but who weren’t surprised when I didn’t.
My family on my father’s side are of Irish descent, and it was determined earlier this year, with my cousins set to run the Dublin Marathon, that the whole extended family would meet in Ireland in October, and we would travel to Fethard, which is the origin of the Fleming name.
My great-grandfather James Joseph Fleming was the youngest of 13 children, born to a potato farming family in Fethard, Ireland, in February of 1893.
It sounds like a cliché, right? “The youngest of 13 children.” But it’s not.
Francis, Michael, William, Steve, John, Richard, Edward, Maria, Margaret, Catherine, and two deceased early on, whose names went unrecorded.
“The great potato famine” took place from 1845 to 1849, but as I’m told, there was yet another famine, or drought, in the early 1900’s, and that’s when my great-grandfather, at age-11, was put on a boat by his family and sent to Boston, Massachusetts.
He ended up in Canada shortly thereafter.
My great-grandfather married my great-grandmother in Fort Erie, Ontario, in 1923.
My grandfather, Richard Clarke Fleming, was born in 1926 or 1927; I never find out exactly which one. I hold him in high regard because when he was 16-years-old, he forged his birth certificate to show he was 18-years-old so he could fight in World War II. The world, society, and youth have all changed significantly in the time that has passed, wouldn’t you say?
My grandfather made it back safely in 1945, and my father, James Clarke Fleming, was born in 1947.
My grandfather never talked about the war, even when I asked. He had two massive tattoos on his forearms – one of a navy ship, and I can’t recall the other. My father tells me that my grampa “wore long-sleeved shirts in the summer” because he was ashamed of the tattoos he got during WWII, but they were a memory of all his friends who perished.
Here is the only photo I have of my grandfather from before I was born. This is an original, and I keep it in a frame on my desk at work:
That’s my grandfather in the middle.
He looks exactly like my brother, it’s just eerie.
This was taken in New York, right before they went overseas.
I never knew much about my family history until recently.
Anybody that has said, “What the heck, I’ll sign up for Ancestry.ca” knows how easy it is to get carried away. But most of what I know about my father’s side, I didn’t find online. I pieced it together from anecdotes, photos, the odd document sat in a box for 60 years, etc.
I have never been to Ireland.
Both my brother and my father have, and both have been to Fethard.
My Uncle Rick, who died tragically in 1986, is buried in Fethard, Ireland.
And so too is my grandmother.
And while the timing of this journey – right in the middle of the fall real estate market, is far from ideal, I know I’m being selfish and disrespectful for even having those thoughts.
I’m not good with change, lack of routine, or giving up control, and thus this trip is exactly what I need right now.
I might drop you all a line from my journey along the way, otherwise, I’ll be back on TRB next Wednesday!