Kathryn McDonnell

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My grandmother Mommy Kay is the inspiration for my panel. When I was young I would stop by her house on my way home from school. She lived only a few blocks around the corner from where I grew up. In the afternoon I would find Mommy Kay sitting in her garden/library room reading. I would come up the front steps and see her there. Immediately I felt at home. Once I asked her "Did you read all these books?" "Oh yes my dear and many many more. I have run out of shelf space and now I only borrow books from the library." Mommy Kay would recite Longfellow poems by heart. That impressed me. Once she told me that Longfellow mentioned a "Monk Otto" in one of his poems. "Who is Monk Otto?" I asked. "Well he is a very distant relative." she replied with a little bit of family pride in her voice. I wasn't impressed.... "Who cares about an ole Monk living somewhere far away." I thought. "And besides I'm glad I don't have to recite a really dull poem by Longfellow at my school even if it mentions an important Monk who is distantly related." When I was asked to contribute an ancestor panel I tried to find a reference to Monk Otto in Longfellow's writings but I couldn't find anything. However I did I uncovered Father Frank, my grandmother's cousin, who lived and was ordained in Paris France in the early part of the 20th Century. He was a historian and traveled to Germany to research his and my grandmother's family. I am still searching for Monk Otto. Did my grandmother make up the story about Monk Otto? Or is my childhood memory incomplete and I missed an important element?