Ever since I was 10 years old, I've known I wanted to be a writer. The only thing to change about that life-long dream is adding onto it by wanting to eventually teach history. Both of these concepts define me fairly well.
When I said I would become a writer, my father, grandfather, and family historian uncle pulled me aside and told me that I already had a family member to live up to where writing was concerned.
Jonathan Swift. Irish-born satirical writer, known primarily for "Gulliver's Travels" and "A Modest Proposal". Alma mater of Trinity College in Dublin. According to these men, Jonathan Swift was in my line.
I've been trying to find the truth in this for 15 years now, off and on, of course.
I left it alone for a couple years after never finding proof of anything past the late 1700's. It wasn't until I had gone to Dublin during an overseas adventure that I got hit with this need-to-know obsession again.
I had wandered the streets of Dublin, and seen the country of Ireland, for a month by this point. It was the last week of my traveling when a friend took me on a tour of Trinity College. I hadn't thought about Jonathan Swift much, other than smiling when people looked shocked at hearing my name. A historian at the college had heard my name and approached me, a stunned look on her face. She told me to go on an extra tour of the history departments, even getting me a free ticket.
I didn't know why and didn't think about it, until I had arrived at the People section. I looked upon busts of historical people that came from the school. I enjoyed seeing the documents on philosophy, science, and medicine.
I eventually found myself staring down at an exhibit, looking into the metal-cast impression of Jonathan Swift's death mask. I do not know how long I stared down through the glass at the mans' face. A legend was looking back at me. That was why the historian told me to go on the tour.
I have no shame in admitting that I left Trinity College with tears in my eyes.
Since then, I've been tearing through my research, looking for clues. I now had a reason to find out. I needed to know if all these years of rumor and family folklore were true.
I'm two generations, two names, from finding out the truth. One day, soon, I will find out, and be able to honor the memory of a man who had become my family, blood or not.