The Paton Challenge

My Dad (Hello Dad! *waves*) issued me a challenge today, to trace his side of my family tree, thus The Paton Challenge. I think he’s playing with me, I think he knows a fair bit about his family and is just testing me. Isn’t that right, Dad?

I never had the honour of meeting my grandfather, James Paton (b. 1909, d. 1964) and I don’t remember ever meeting my gran, Ann Jane McGeachy McLaughlin (b. 1914, d. 1988).

My Grandfather, James Paton (b. 1909, d. 1964)

My Grandfather, James Paton (b. 1909, d. 1964)

A lot happened during my childhood, my parents got divorced, re-married to new spouses and decisions were made that effectively cut me off from my Dad and his side of the family. As a mother I understand because I’ve had to make similar choices myself in regards to my two eldest but it causes me so much pain. I can’t remember the circumstances that led my parents to divorce and I’ve heard several versions from different family members. The only constant truth is that they divorced.

It has taken a lot for me to get to a point of realising I can’t play the peacemaker. I do wish everyone could just get along but I’ve learned my lesson and now I’m just pleased I am getting an opportunity to make amends. Life is far too short, I know the strain in my family will probably never be fixed but it’s not my place to take sides especially when I have no idea of where, how or when it all began and I am sorry. I should have stayed out of it, I had a childish fantasy of making it all better.

I don’t know very much about my family on my Dad’s side other than there is at least one war hero and my great-grandmother was trampled to death during WWII. It just didn’t seem the right thing to do when we weren’t speaking because it felt like I was snooping but that’s not preventing me now. I accept your challenge Dad!