Saturday Mix–10 June 2017 – What if..

SS Marco Polo

The task this week: Tell us your alternate history story in 250 words or less.


I think our lives are made up of ‘what if’ scenarios. We all have had those moments where what if we weren’t standing in that spot where we met someone, saw something, heard something, what difference would it have made to us and where we are now.

For me, I have wondered about my great grandfather. In the 1860’s he went from Ireland to the USA and fought in the Civil War.

He was wounded and from what we know married a woman whom we know very little if anything about.

After the war, he returned to Ireland and obviously, a single man he married my great grandmother. In that time, the famine in Ireland was raging, and he had a small family, and as there was very little in the way of prospects and as he had a brother living in Australia he packed up his family and sailed to Australia. Hence that is how I came to be here as a descendent of this brave man and his wife.

But there is the what if factor as well. What if he decided to return to the US and to take his family there where opportunity lay, and it wasn’t as far from home as Australia. It was the factor of family that determined where he would end up. He had very little in the way of prospects it was starvation or uncertainty. Had his brother been in the US I am sure that is where I would be today.


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7 Responses to Saturday Mix–10 June 2017 – What if..

  1. scribblersdip says:

    You can never know with any absolute certainty – about anything – other than to say, well, here I am right here and now – today.

    And you’re right – when considering the ancestors, and their stories and choices, it makes for an even more intriguing question.

    Mine personally is, what if my father’s brother hadn’t died back in Eastern Europe, before he was born. Would he have been born? Would things have been different? Would my paternal grandparents left war-torn Europe, 2 years apart, after the first child’s death, at all? Did it play any part in their choices? and here’s the one I wonder about the most: what if my grandfather had been “obedient” and hadn’t decided to “jump the train” that was transporting all the immigrants across Canada – and instead of “going where he was supposed to” – out to the Prairies, to “farm” and settle the land and establish our great nation – what would have happened? Would my parents have even met? Hell, would my father been born at all? All these possibilities – and no clear answers – only mysteries and the here and now, for better or worse.

  2. Teresa says:

    What a great family history! It’s amazing to hear how our ancestors came to be where they ran across one another.

  3. Linda Vernon says:

    I liked this challenge. Yes, you could be living in California right now. We could be neighbors! I wonder why his brother decided to go to Australia? He must have had some kind of prospects down there, It seems more logical that he would have gone to the US. It just occurred to me that Australia must have some equivalent of Ellis Island.

    • Michael says:

      He came to Australia as he had a brother here. We don’t have an Ellis Island as you do, the modern day equivalent would be Manus Island in the Pacific, a disgraceful place where boat people have been put and all hope of settlement in Australia taken from them.

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