Kristine Marie Cummins


Legacy essay Great Great Grandfather Karl Violyn Maker

My great-great grandparents, Rosa Schlosser and Richard Karl Matischek’s wedding in Chicago in 1907. Karl was a well known violin maker in San Francisco in the early part of the 19th century.

Recently I was searching for lower car insurance online for my Subaru Outback Legacy. I wondered why the branding company decided to insert the word, “Legacy” in the name of the car. Perhaps their marketing strategy for the Subaru is to have a successful legacy for driving through snow in the outback without getting stuck. That is a good legacy for those who like to ski. Skiing is not my thing, but I certainly would like a legacy for being remembered as successfully driving through life without allowing life’s inevitable sticky roadblocks to hinder me from sharing what I do best. Knowing and honoring one’s own unique talents for the rest of humanity to thrive from, no matter how big or small, is what legacy means.

If leaving behind some sort of legacy is dependent on knowing one’s self to begin with, then it is clear that one should start on that project if they have not already. Just like the manufacturer for the Subaru Outback Legacy was clear about what the car’s selling point is, I believe everyone can get clear about who they are too. There are those child geniuses who seem to know their gifts upon birth; within a few years they are playing piano like Ludwig Van Beethoven. And then there are people like me who have an inclination about their gifts, but once they grow up, start to question themselves. Periodically, I have thought that I am both blessed and cursed by what comes naturally. Misguidedly, I would think that if I was good at mathematics, I would be a computer programmer and make a big fortune. But I kept defaulting, like how I default to whipping cream in my coffee, to the talented artist that I am. Once there is clarity, there is direction for one’s life. And one can be able to derive a brand to market one’s innate talent whatever it may be––from being a gardener to a doctor. Everyone comes into this world with unique gifts no matter how big or small. It is a matter of building upon and sharing them with the rest of the world. And come to think of it, I do not believe that any gift is too big or small; a gift is a gift and there is someone out there ready and willing to receive it. So with that said, I believe that everyone who is searching for direction, should start with becoming conscious of what makes them most content. Once one becomes aware of what makes them most happy, it is inevitable that a legacy will follow during their life and in memory once they pass on.

My Outback certainly has a consistent legacy for being a good solid car, making an impact on me that it is one less thing I have to worry about. My own family has made an impact on me with an inherent legacy for creativity for over a century, inspiring me to carry on the tradition. My great-grandfather, who immigrated from Austria to San Francisco in the early 1900s, was a well known violin maker. His son, my grandfather, created wooden sculptures with beautifully inlaid semi-precious stones. I brag about my late mother as being the original “Martha Stewart”, creating gorgeous stained glass and unique floral arrangements with the ability to make the weeds she snuck in look elegant. And finally, my son is a natural musician and painter. By honoring what comes natural to me, I am also honoring my ancestral lineage. I wholeheartedly believe those who create a legacy, are those who embrace their passion without letting life’s sticky roadblocks from hindering them.

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