Do you ever wonder about your ancestral roots? Sandy Selden doesn’t. She simply looks at the Sage family tree to trace hers. If you wonder why this heirloom was tucked away in a garage, no worries. Sandy, Rich, Hannah and Sarah are in the box-emptying phase following their recent move.
Sandy’s great-grandfather, Venning Lee Sage, originally designed the family tree. A Royal Air Force pilot in WWI, he met Sandy’s grandmother, Elizabeth Atkinson, in England before moving his bride to Minnesota.
“Grandpa Lee always had a bowl full of caramels,” Sandy recalls. “When I was 7 or 8, he gave me a big jar of pennies, and I felt so rich.” Memories stirred, Sandy continues, “My great-grandmother went by Lispy. I’m Sandra Elizabeth, named after her.”
Sandy points to her name and adds, “Since I’m the oldest, I’m the only great-grandchild to make the tree. It made me feel special.”
Sandy’s grandfather was Thomas Lee, Lee and Lispy’s oldest son. Donald, the youngest, became the family historian and updated the tree, which hung on Sandy’s grandparent’s wall before Sandy inherited it.
Happy to have relatives in the area, Sandy recently drove to Ames to meet with Donald’s son, Ted. Ted mentioned his son, Andy, lives in Ankeny. Surprise, surprise — Andy attends the same church as Sandy.
“We like Ankeny,” states Rich, who works at Drake. “The schools are top-rated. The biggest problem we’ve faced is who to root for — Iowa or Iowa State.”
“KU all the way,” Sandy loyally adds with a smile.
Every summer, Sandy and her family drove from Kansas to the family cabin in Minnesota. They often pulled off I-35 to stretch their legs in Ankeny, where, unbeknownst to them, they’d one day plant their own roots.
Already linked to a long and rich family history, Sandy’s ready to meet more of the next generation. Plans brew for a Sage family reunion next summer in Ankeny, a good central location for relatives scattered in Minnesota, Arkansas, Kansas and Iowa.
So, the apple doesn’t fall far from the family tree. Just like her great-grandfather, Sandy keeps caramels in a dish on her desk and an open door for more relatives she hopes to meet in the Ankeny area.
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