By Natasha Ragland
Special to Village News 

Finding my roots from the remnants in the shed during COVID-19


Last updated 7/30/2020 at 11:47am

Natasha Ragland sits in the studio before her still life.

When the coronavirus shutdown happened, my family and I finally decided to dig into our storage sheds and confront the boxes of stuff we inherited from my two grandmas, who died 16 and 20 years ago.

I found some useful items like Grandma Helen's antique tea pots and cups and saucers, which I've been painting in a still life. Old photos and letters we found reminded us that her parents came from Finland in the early 1900s.

My mother Marilee Ragland's father came from German and Scotch-Irish roots in the late 1800s. We often watch "Finding Your Roots" on KPBS-TV, which made me want to learn more about my family.

My father Jack Ragland's mother, Dorsey, had ancestors that came from England 146 years before the Declaration of Independence. Grandma Dorsey and Jack Rider Ragland were married right after World War I ended in 1919.

It was also during the last pandemic of influenza, from which my Grandma Dorsey nearly died. She was hospitalized for six weeks with 105-degree temperature, and all her hair fell out.

She got married that summer, right after she recovered in Independence, Missouri, wearing her "transformation" hair piece made of her own hair during the ceremony.

It was so hot she ripped it off immediately afterward, saying, "That's enough of that!" She was a survivor who endured a heart attack and cancer and lived to be 107 in Fallbrook. The first Ragland arrived in Virginia in 1678 from the town of Raglan near its castle in Wales.

"Geraniums, Tea Pot and Summer Fruits" is a painting by Natasha Ragland.


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