Karle Reinke was my maternal grandfather and although I was just seven years old when he died, I still have clear memories of the man. I remember him holding a small garter snake so I could pet its cold smooth skin as he explained why I shouldn’t be afraid of it. I remember the big tire swing in his back yard on which he would send me flying high into the sky. I remember his patience and gentleness with a little girl full of energy and endless questions. I still wish he’d lived long enough for me and his other six grandchildren to know him better. Tracing Karle’s origins has helped me answer some of the questions about our genetic history. This project has also reminded me that what’s most important about a person is his legacy rather than his heritage. Karle’s legacy is alive and going strong today in the classrooms of his granddaughters.
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