Archive for May, 2013

celtic tree of life heart

My son Cody recently asked me to send him some genealogical information about my father, John Weston Ramsell, and my maternal grandfather, Charles McWhirter Barrett. While I have a lot of vital information about each of these men, I know very little about them on a personal level.

My father died when I was 6, so I don’t have many memories of him. The ones I do have are random in nature. For example, I remember he always wore highly polished, black, wing tip dress shoes, and his slacks were always a bit too short, so I could always see his socks peeking out from underneath the hem. He was a chain smoker and was rarely without a cigarette in his hand. He absolutely loved Star Trek and the music of Nat King Cole. My parents split when I was around 3 and I lived with my mother. On the weekends, when daddy would come to visit me, he would always take me to Winchell’s to get doughnuts. I blame my deep and abiding love for them on him.

Today I came across an online digital copy of my parent’s marriage certificate which I had never seen before. I recognized my mother’s handwriting immediately when I saw her signature. I’d never seen my father’s handwriting or signature on anything before. I noticed that the letters in his name seemed to slant to the left a little bit, so I wondered if maybe dad had been left handed.


John Weston Ramsell Signature Marriage License14 March 1957, Pasadena, California

I sent a mass text to my older siblings, asking if that were the case, and these are the responses I got from two of them.


John: “He was until the nuns (my dad went to Catholic school) made him switch from the “sinister” hand. That’s the lore anyway.” John explained that the word sinister is Latin in origin, and means on the left side, and is considered unlucky or ill-boding.…good to know.

John Weston Ramsell, Class photo c1940Dad c 1940 Class Picture

Annie: “He was but they (the nuns) made him change to the right hand, and he became ambidextrous. That’s the story I was told. Interestingly enough, Meegan (Annie’s oldest daughter) has his nose and she is left handed AND she was born on his birthday.”Meegan and Grandpa Ramsell2Meegan Abrahamson 2006 & John Weston Ramsell c 1960

So…my dad was left handed. Huh. And for some unknown reason, learning this new piece of personal information about him has me feeling ridiculously, but also in a wonderful way, emotional. I miss you Dad:)



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