Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Rare Rareys

   One of my coworkers, Anne, has a strong interest in genealogy, and we've discussed it a few times this year, which definitely piqued my curiosity. I haven't delved into it yet, but there are some (relatively) famous Rareys that I'm very interested to learn more about. 
   "Rarey" started as a German name, "Rarrick," which was changed when my forefathers came to the United States. Because apparently "Rarrick" didn't sound silly enough.
   I'm familiar with the work of George Rarey, a cartoonist and pilot who was killed in WWII. He documented his tour of duty through his sketches and designed characters to adorn the planes. (Much like how I document life on the front lines at Hallmark in cartoons, most often employed to harass my coworkers. Or more accurately, to repay them for harassing me. We MUST be related!) His son Damon has thoughtfully documented many of his images here. (Most images below are from this site.) Love, love, love his work, and hope someday I'll live up to the name!
   My great-aunt Stella, who lives up in Waterville, Maine is the only other artist I'm aware of to which I'm related. She is a skilled watercolorist and has been showing her work as well as presenting her paintings as gifts to family and friends for many years. She's 90+ years old now and is one of the warmest and funniest people I've ever met.
    As for my love of animals, I assume I inherited that from John Solomon Rarey, the original horse whisperer ( Wiki Rarey.com )
I regretfully admit, however, that I am not as skilled at training canines as he was with equines. And Ginny's horse, Bud, pretty much underscored the fact that I don't take after John with horses either. Here's Bud at a gallop, swishing his tail as if I were a fly to be swatted:
   Look, one of Bud's ancestors is trying to bite off John Solomon Rarey's arm! But as you can see here, Rarey, thinking quickly, thwarts his attack by poking the errant equine in the eye. Much as I did on my ride. Except by "poking him in the eye," I mean, "holding on for dear life and trying not to curse like a drunken sailor while wetting the saddle in front of my friends."
   Someday I want to grow up to be a Complete Horsetamer Farrier just like John. And Bud wants to grow up to be a Complete Rareytamer. And the battle of wills shall continue until one of us pays the ultimate price: most likely me, with Bud forcing me to wear the bit.
   Back to Earth. According to the White Pages database,  there are only 276 of us Rareys in the U.S. (and who knows if that includes my sister, who is technically a Coleman now?). The Rareys are highly concentrated in my home state of Ohio. And according to the heat map, I may be the only one representing in Kansas and Missouri. Represent!

   There are 2 "Jennifer Rareys" on Facebook, in addition to myself. I haven't been brave enough to friend either of them yet. Would that be weird? One of them likes Olan Mills, so that's one thing we have in common. I like to make fun of Olan Mills. We're practically SISTERS!
   I do keep in touch with and occasionally see Cousin Dave, who owns a Thoroughbred racing stable in New York... glad SOMEONE in the famiy got John's genes!
    And I also occasionally have a Facebook convo with Cousin Jeff, who serves in the military and is based in Heuchelheim, Germany (okay, this is getting eerie now... George Rarey, anyone?), as well as a few other assorted cousins, aunts and uncles on Facebook. I need to start asking them what research they have done into our lineage to give me a head start.
    But perhaps the most strange is a book from 1968 entitled "John and the Rarey," about an odd boy who discovers an odd creature, oddly named after my family, apparently. I found the book by accident at a flea market in small-town Missouri over 10 years ago. (I'm sure you heard my jaw hit the floor that day. Remember that?) What I find most odd is that "Rarey" in the book is capitalized, though it's referring to a creature and not a surname. ...Or is it?
   And by the way, if you're lazy, don't even bother coming after me. Because if you haven't heard, It's a Long Way to Tipperary. (Try telling that to our corporate challenge flag football opponents. They not only tipped me, they attempted to grind me into the field. I shall draw cartoons to mock them! Then they'll be sorry. With their gold medals.)
   That's all for now on the strange and exciting history of the Rarey clan. Can't wait to see what other weirdness I turn up when I actually put some time into this...